All talk and little action on greenpower

We know from previous polling that people are reluctant to pay the increased energy prices that will be required under the ETS.

Yesterday the ABS put out some survey results that let us do a revealed preference test on willingness to pay more for greenpower electricity.

In March this year, just under a third of people indicated that they were willing to pay more. But another question on how many are actually paying more came up with a much lower result – 5%. Talk is cheap, greenpower is expensive.

The question about willingness to pay has been asked four times: in 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2008. In the first three surveys willingness to pay was stable on around a quarter of respondents. So the third recorded in 2008 is a clear change.

Yet given the saturation media coverage of climate change issues – I set myself an even bigger task than I realised in going through the results of a daily Google news search for my monitoring of alarmist, denialist and NIMBY stories – it is a clear but small change. There is a major gap between what is required to reduce carbon emissions and what Australians are prepared to do themselves to achieve that reduction.