Valuing climate protection through willingness to pay for biomass ethanol

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This study uses a multi-part, split-sample contingent valuation method (CVM) and fair share (FS) survey to better understand the public's valuation of mitigating global climate change through its willingness to pay for biomass or "cellulosic" ethanol. In addition to a basic CVM question, a related scenario was developed that asked half of the survey respondents to state their fair share cost to lessen a potential food shortage in the next decade, also through the expanded use of cellulosic ethanol. Three alternative biomass feedstocks were assessed: farming residues, forestry residues and paper mill wastes, and municipal solid wastes. Overall a slightly larger proportion of respondents were WTP extra for cellulosic ethanol in the basic CVM scenario than in the FS scenario, though no significant differences were found in the WTP for the different feedstocks. Bid curve lognormal regression results for the two models were similar, supporting the idea that asking a FS rather than a conventional WTP question may be justifiable in some circumstances, such as in cases of a national emergency. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Ecological Economics