Cap-and-Trade Support Linked to Revenue Use

June 2015

The Obama Administration’s creation of the Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector has renewed interest in possible state or regional adoption of cap-and-trade programs to meet mandatory reduction targets. The latest version of the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) sought to understand Americans’ awareness of existing cap-and-trade programs in their state, and to gauge their receptiveness to this policy option. The survey finds that a large percentage (71%) of Americans do not know whether their state had adopted a cap-and-trade program, and more than a third (38%) of Americans haven’t formed an opinion about whether or not their state should adopt such an approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When provided with more details about various options on how revenues generated through allowance auctions from such a program might be used, more Americans express an opinion, and some options clearly rise to the top. In particular, support is highest amongst both Republicans and Democrats for a cap-and-trade program in which revenues are used to expand energy efficiency programs.