Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan3
U.S. Going Wrong Way on Energy, Americans Say
If you’re a firm believer in the U.S. being a democracy, one of the most perplexing issues for you might be the fact that:
but U.S. politicians (mostly, but not entirely, on one side of the aisle) strongly support subsidies to the fossil fuel industry but not to the clean energy industry.
The fact of the matter is, though, politicians respond to money more than to voters, and they (especially those on one side of the aisle) receive a lot more money from the rich fossil fuel industry than the nascent clean energy industry. Do U.S. citizens notice and care?
A poll released yesterday by by The University of Texas at Austin found:
- less than 14% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction on energy
- 84% (of the 3,400+ surveyed) were worried about U.S. consumption of oil from foreign sources
- 76% were worried about a lack of progress in developing better ways to use energy efficiently and develop renewable sources
You can add me to the majority on those issues.
Energy efficiency has improved considerably in the U.S. That is in no small part to individuals (of all political stripes) greening their homes (and reaping the financial and feel-good rewards). But to address the larger issues, we need politicians to care more about these issues, as well.
We have decent energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy rebates available. But we need a national renewable energy standard (RES); a price on greenhouse gas pollution; a more accurate price on the cost of oil; more investment in the development and deployment of cheap EVs, solar, and wind; and a true energy plan.
“This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy issues,” Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin, said.
More on the poll:
The inaugural University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll, developed by the McCombs School of Business’ Energy Management and Innovation Center, seeks to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development. To be conducted biannually, the online poll rates leadership on energy issues, measures consumers’ energy priorities, and tracks knowledge and energy consumption behaviors. The poll’s design was a collaborative effort of academics and polling experts, nongovernmental organizations, large energy users and energy producers.
When it came to expressing satisfaction with a range of different individuals, businesses, institutions, and organizations, Congress was dead last (8% satisfied, 71% dissatisfied). I wonder why. Republicans have only filibustered or completely shot down (in the House) every attempt to transition us to a clean energy economy sooner rather than too late.