Will people pay more for cleaner energy? You decide

A Deloitte survey found consumers will pay more on utility bills to help slow climate change. Or did it?

Elsa Wenzel

It's funny how the same study can spark slightly different, even contradictory reactions. Consulting firm Deloitte released a report Monday of consumers' attitudes about household energy costs and climate change. Here's how two publications interpreted the results.

Greenwire: Most would accept higher electric bills to battle warming -- survey

A majority of Americans say they are willing to pay slightly higher electricity bills to help curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants...More than 36 percent of respondents said they would accept a 5 percent increase, and 17 percent of respondents would accept a 10 percent annual boost in their power bills. Acceptance plummets as costs rise--3.5 percent of those surveyed would accept a 15 increase in their bills, and almost 5 percent would stomach even greater increases. Thirty-four percent say they would not accept any rise in their electric bills.

The Wall Street Journal: Reality Check: Consumers Unlikely to Pay Much More for Green

People really don't want to pay much more each month to stop global warming, regardless of how many movies Al Gore makes. One-third of Deloitte respondents said they'd be prepared to pay "zero" extra to fight global warming. Slightly more, 36 percent, said they'd cough up 5 percent more if it meant their juice was emissions-free--5 percent being what you leave a really lousy waiter. About a quarter of the 1,000 adults Deloitte interviewed said they'd be willing to add 10 percent or more to their power bill for clean energy.