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American public opinion – wanting renewable energy, not nuclear power

 Americans overwhelmingly support greater investments in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. They favor requiring utilities to use more alternative energy (even if this proves more expensive) and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies.

in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a clear majority of Americans opposes building new nuclear power plants

Americans on Renewable EnergyCouncil on Foreign Relations  by Stewart M. Patrick  January 18, 2012  With Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, energy security is once again at the top of the global agenda—and not just in Rick Perry’s debate talking points. But true “energy security” will require more than independence from unreliable or unstable suppliers. It will also oblige governments and companies to invest in a wider range of energy sources—many of them renewable.

That is the message of the World Future Energy Summit, which opened in Abu Dhabi this week. In his keynote address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the world to double its use of renewable energy by 2030. Ban’s words should resonate strongly in the United States, according to a new digest of polls on energy security released by the International Institutions and Global Governanceprogram and worldpublicopinion.org.

Americans, it turns out, are deeply anxious about energy security. An overwhelming majority (85 percent) consider it important (67 percent “very important”) to “decrease American dependence on oil imported from the Middle East”. Nearly two in three Americans (64%) favor creating a new international institution to “monitor the worldwide energy market and predict potential shortages.” Large majorities worry that energy shortages and higher prices could lead to destabilization of the world economy, that energy competition could lead to international conflict (or even war), and that current energy production is causing unacceptable environmental damage.

To ameliorate these dangers, Americans overwhelmingly support greater investments in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. They favor requiring utilities to use more alternative energy (even if this proves more expensive) and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies. Americans recognize the costs of these steps. But they’re convinced such investments will pay off in the long run—and are critical to long-term U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

There are a few wrinkles in the polling data. Americans generally support conservation as a means to reduce U.S. energy dependence. Among other steps, they favor retrofitting old buildings, elevating efficiency standards for U.S. companies, and raising fuel standards for automobiles—even if this causes the price of cars to rise. When it comes to increasing energy taxes to encourage conservation, Americans initially express skepticism. But when told that the revenues would be earmarked to developing alternative energy (or offset by other tax reductions), a majority supports higher taxes.

Still, U.S. public support for conservation has slipped. Until recently, the Gallup organization found consistent majority preference in the United States for promoting “more conservation by consumers of existing energy resources”, as opposed to the “production of more oil, gas, and coal supplies.” But the percentage taking this view fell from a peak of 64% in March 2007 to only 48% in March 2011, as the percentage favoring greater production rose to 41%. For a significant minority, “drill, baby, drill” is the strategy of choice….

in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a clear majority of Americans opposes building new nuclear power plants. …. http://blogs.cfr.org/patrick/2012/01/18/americans-on-renewable-energy/

January 20, 2012 - Posted by | renewable, USA

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