In today's political climate, it's hard to imagine Americans agreeing on anything important. So it might be surprising to find out that there's a strong consensus on climate change. A strong majority of Americans want our political leaders to act, and economists agree that the best way to mitigate climate change is by taxing carbon.

Research by Emily Church and Matt Ford, charts by Matt Ford


Most Americans support action on climate change.

Leiserowitz et. al., Global Warming and the U.S. Presidential Election, Spring 2016. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.


Among economists from all sectors, most agree taxing carbon pays off.

Fuller, D. and Geide-Stevenson, D., Consensus Among Economists-An Update, The Journal of Economic Education, 45(2), 131–146.


Support for government action to cut carbon pollution is highest among economists who have studied climate change

Howard, P. and Sylvan, D. The Economic Climate: Establishing Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change (2015).


Will the public accept a carbon tax?

Global Warming National Poll. Resources for the Future/New York Times/Stanford University. January 2015

Leiserowitz et. al., Global Warming and the U.S. Presidential Election, Spring 2016. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

More than two thirds of Americans support a carbon tax.


In 2006, Middleton, WI became the first American city to ask its residents about Carbon Fee and Dividend

Should the City of Middleton reduce the risks of global warming through its policy decisions and actions?

Should the City of Middleton endorse a federal carbon fee and dividend program as part of a national strategy to reduce the risks of global warming?

Dane County election results


Greater knowledge of climate economics leads to greater support for mitigation.

68% of Americans support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

78% of economists agree that taxing carbon pays off [1].

84% of resource economists agree that we should increase taxes on energy [2].

95% of climate economists agree that we should reduce our emissions [3].

[1] Fuller, D., & Geide-Stevenson, D. (2014). Consensus Among Economists—An Update. The Journal of Economic Education, 45(2), 131–146.

[2] Haab, T. C. and Whitehead, J. C. What do Environmental and Resource Economists Think? Results from a Survey of AERE Members, (2015)

[3] Howard and Sylvan (Howard, P., & Sylvan, D. (2015). The Economic Climate: Establishing Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change