Americans Prefer Government Renewable Energy Mandates Over Tax Dollar Investment, New Survey Shows

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image: Burson-Marsteller

I always like reading about people's perceptions of green issues, so a new survey by Burson-Marsteller on the differences between the general public and those people who are actively involved in the green movement ("green elites") on renewable energy issues was particularly interesting. Specifically, how we ought to be meeting our energy needs and how government ought to be supporting renewable energy:Everyone Favors Increasing Use of Renewable Energy...
The survey asked "Do you think it's better to address our energy needs by..." and then gave seven responses, plus "other".

The top two responses for both the general population and the green elites were increasing the use of alternative energy sources, and investing resources in developing new green technologies -- 34% the general population favored the former, compared to 26% of green elites; 28% of green elites favored the latter, with 16% of the general public supporting more investment in developing new technologies.

The third place spot was taken by "providing consumers with information about their energy use to help consumers better manage their consumption." 14% of the general public/13% of green elites thought that the best way to go.

...And Think Government Can Make It Happen
On how to most effectively promote renewable energy, I found it a bit surprising that both the general public and green elites favored the government simply mandating that utilities generate 50% of their energy from renewable sources in the next 10 years.

52% of green elites and 41% of the general population thought that this would be the most effective way of addressing environmental problems.

This won out over both using tax dollars to fund major renewable energy investments and putting a price on carbon (either through cap and trade or a carbon tax).

I wonder what that says in people's faith in the market to supply a solution? Or perhaps their lack of understanding of how either cap and trade or a carbon tax would actually work?

Check out the full survey: Burson-Marsteller 2009 Green Power Progress Survey
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