Monday, November 27, 2017

New Global Survey Reveals that Everyone Loves Green Energy — Especially the Chinese - by David Roberts

Also everyone hates coal.

Gee, wonder why the Chinese are so keen on clean energy... (Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
I have written many times about the high levels of public support in the US for renewable energy — support that has been strikingly consistent over the years, despite the lack of similar enthusiasm among policymakers.

Now the Danish green energy company Ørsted (which used to be called Dong, back before it got out of the oil and gas business) has commissioned the largest-ever global survey of opinion on the subject, the Green Energy Barometer.

Partnering with the research consultancy Edelman Intelligence, Ørsted surveyed a whopping 26,000 people across 13 countries in late July, ensuring that at least 2,000 demographically representative respondents were reached per country.

Long story short:  The whole world wants more green energy (and less coal).

This was the main question on the survey:  “How important do you think it is to create a world fully powered by renewable energy (by this we mean energy is produced in a way where there is limited or no impact on the climate)?”

Across 13 of the world’s wealthiest countries, 82 percent of respondents deemed that goal important.

Strikingly, support for green energy held up across demographic categories.  While results were mildly divided by ideology, they were fairly close even there.

(I suspect, though the survey does not say, that ideological polarization on this issue is sharper in the US than anywhere else, though I’d love to see the raw numbers.)

Of course, that’s a pretty softball question.  It’s easy to say on a survey that things are important.  I think lots of things are important!  So I don’t know how much this can really tell us about how people will behave in actual political settings.  In the end, it’s an online survey about green energy from a green energy company, so the absolute numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

But the relative numbers — that is, how countries and issues compare with one another — can be illuminating.

Top five most pressing challenges (Credit: Ørsted)  Click to Enlarge.
For instance, here’s how people rank global threats:

(People are wrong about this — the suffering from climate change promises to be many orders of magnitude greater than even the worst predictions about terrorism — but it goes to show that threats with faces will always scare people more than, e.g., bad weather.)

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