Climate change, public opinion and residential energy use : do Americans walk their environmental talk?
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The scientific consensus is that climate change is real and has already begun; moreover, it is the result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Given the increasing threat of climate change, what policies will slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions? To answer this question, it is imperative that policymakers understand the factors that influence energy consumption. This paper analyzes the components of residential energy consumption per capita to determine what factors, in turn, influence the production of greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the paper analyzes the effect of publicly perceived threat of climate change on residential consumption habits between 1980 and 2009. Results demonstrate that the primary contributors to an individual's residential energy consumption are economic, including the residential price of electricity, and tax rebates for purchase of energy efficient appliances and home weatherization. Americans' perceived threat of climate change does not play a statistically significant role in residential energy consumption. So do Americans walk their environmental talk? The answer is no; not unless it is cheaper for them to do so.
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