'Post-Fossil Fuel America' Survey: Bipartisan Support Seen For Coal-Fired Power Plant Moratorium, Stepped-Up Focus on Renewables, Higher Vehicle MPG Standard and More Green Building

In Face of Climate Threat, Americans Ready to End Addiction to Coal,

Other Fossil Fuels;

New "Call to Action" Lining Up Grassroots Support for Comprehensive

National Energy Action.

Oct 18, 2007, 01:00 ET from Civil Society Institute, Newton, MA. from ,Save Our Cumberland Mountains

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans may be
 addicted to coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels today, but a new national
 opinion survey makes it clear that the public is ready to go "cold turkey"
 and put an end to its costly and environmentally harmful dependence on
 fossil fuels.
     The Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) poll of more than 1,000 U.S.
 adults was conducted for Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now (CLEAN) -- a
 new effort by clean power and coalfield state grassroots organizations
 facilitated by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI)
 -- found strong support for such significant steps as: a five-year
 moratorium on new coal-fired power plants; increased investments and tax
 credits for stepped-up renewable energy production; greater emphasis on
 energy efficiency in all new construction; a sharp jump in federal mile per
 gallon (MPG) fuel efficiency standards; and changes in personal energy
 consumption patterns. The grassroots groups active in CLEAN are now are
 circulating a comprehensive national "call to action" on energy policy for
 endorsement by other grassroots organizations across the U.S.
     Key survey highlights include:
     -- More than four of five Americans (84 percent) -- including 78
 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of
 Independents -- agree with "a national energy strategy based on a 'phasing
 in' of new technologies and a 'phasing out' of carbon based energy sources
 ... America should commit to a five-year moratorium on new coal-fired
 plants and, instead, focus on aggressive expansion of wind, solar and other
 renewable energy sources. Tax and other incentives should be provided for
 all new construction to help reduce energy consumption. Homeowners should
 get incentives to make their homes more energy efficient to help reduce
 energy demands."
     -- Only 15 percent of Americans think the federal or state governments
 should be investing in "converting U.S. coal into diesel fuel or synthetic
 natural gas." By contrast, 66 percent of Americans -- including 53 percent
 of Republicans, 75 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents -
 say "if the government is going to invest in an energy solution, it should
 be in renewable technologies such as wind and solar ... and only in the
 context of conservation steps designed to eliminate the wasting of energy."
     -- Over four out of five Americans (81 percent) -- including 77 percent
 of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Independents --
 would "favor state and federal tax incentives for new construction that
 uses available home energy-efficiency technologies and construction methods
 in the United States in order to decrease heating and cooling energy
 consumption and related bills for consumers."
     -- Three out of four Americans -- including 68 percent of Republicans,
 83 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Independents -- think "President
 Bush and Congress should increase the federal fuel-efficiency standard now
 to 40 MPG," rather than waiting to achieve more modest fuel-efficiency
 increases over a longer period of time.
     Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: "The
 American public is way ahead of the politicians today in recognizing the
 serious threat posed by global warming and the need for immediate and
 comprehensive national energy policy changes. It is apparent from this
 survey that there is a huge appetite today among Democrats, Republicans and
 Independents alike for leadership and problem solving that comes from both
 sides of the aisle. Americans don't want Congress to tinker at the margins
 on energy and the climate policy. Americans support a path that begins with
 a moratorium on new coal fired plants accompanied by heavy investment in
 clean power and energy and fuel efficiency. Oil is costly and scarce. Coal
 is a local hazard to coalfield states and a global threat to the
 environment. There is no such thing as clean coal and it is time for the
 country to invest in a clean energy future."
     Dr. James E. Hansen, director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
 (1), The Earth Institute at Columbia University, said: "I support a
 moratorium on construction of coal-fired power plants. This is, by far, the
 most important thing that must be done to stop global warming. Can we solve
 the global warming problem? Yes! Indeed, this problem presents great
 opportunities, as new clean energies will create many high-pay jobs. But we
 must recognize the problem, understand it, and address it sensibly. It will
 not be easy, because there are powerful special interests that would prefer
 not to act. They don't care much about the planet we leave for our children
 and grandchildren. They care more about their six month profits. And they
 have sway in Washington ... The public must lead in the solution of the
 global warming problem. Special interests may have wounded our democracy,
 but it is still alive and well enough."
     Ohio Valley Environmental coalition Co-Director Janet Keating said:
 "Many people are not aware of the extreme human and environmental costs of
 coal that's mined in central Appalachia -- a sacrifice zone for the
 nation's so-called "cheap" energy. Nowadays, coal companies use powerful
 explosives to blast mountaintops, lowering them as much as 800 feet. They
 bury vital headwater streams under millions of tons of mining waste.
 Mountaintop removal mining has already annihilated hundreds of thousands of
 acres of some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the
 world -- with more than an additional million acres slated for destruction.
 This mining technique is destroying and displacing entire human
 communities, eroding the unique mountain culture of our state.
 Additionally, people who refuse to sell their homes face numerous problems
 including contamination or loss of drinking water, associated health
 problems, blasting damage to their homes, flooding, coal waste impoundment
 leaks, and fear of coal sludge impoundment failures. The last thing the
 people in central Appalachia need is the construction of additional
 coal-fired power plants, which would only heal more destruction on our land
 and people."
     Opinion Research Corporation Senior Researcher Graham Hueber said:
 "What is striking in these survey findings is that there is strong
 bipartisan support on an across-the-board basis for such a diverse range of
 national energy policy steps, including electricity generation, vehicle
 mileage, building standards and personal energy consumption habits. It is
 telling that there is majority support on nearly every major question from
 Republicans, Democrats and Independents. This appears to suggest that those
 politicians who downplay the science and need for action on global warming
 are genuinely out of step with the vast majority of Americans, regardless
 of what their political party affiliations might be."
     The preamble to the detailed, step-by-step "call to action" now being
 circulated through CLEAN by the initiating grassroots groups to other local
 and regional groups across American reads in part: "The challenges posed by
 global warming can be solved through determined action and innovative
 thinking. We need to phase out fuels, technologies, and practices that
 contribute to global warming and phase in fuels, technologies and practices
 that move us toward solutions ... We call on the U.S. government to take
 decisive action to stop global warming and climate change. Our government
 should act immediately using all the tools at our nation's disposal ... It
 is not too late! It can be done! It will not happen without the American
 people demanding action of governments and businesses -- and taking
 personal action wherever possible!"
     The list of groups initiating the "call to action" are as follows: Save
 Our Cumberland Mountains (Tennessee); Ohio Valley Environmental Council
 (West Virginia); Cook Inlet Keeper (Alaska); Christians for the Mountains
 (West Virginia); Coal River Mountain Watch (West Virginia); Kentuckians for
 the Commonwealth (Kentucky); Civil Society Institute (Massachusetts); Clean
 Power Now (Massachusetts); Indigenous Environmental Network (Minnesota);
 Castle Mountain Coalition (Alaska); Citizens Action Coalition (Indiana);
 Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment (West Virginia);
 Appalachian Voices (NC); and Rhode Island Wind Alliance (Rhode Island).
     To sign the CLEAN "call to action," go to
 http://www.CleanEnergyAction.net on the Web.
     Other major findings of the CLEAN survey conducted by Opinion Research
 Corporation include the following:
     -- Roughly nine out of 10 Americans (88 percent) -- including over half
 (53 percent) who agree strongly -- think that "the reliance on fossil fuels
 is the product of the industrial revolution of the 19th and early 20th
 centuries" and that it is time for "our nation to start thinking in terms
 of the concept of a "new industrial revolution," one that is characterized
 by the orderly phasing out of fossil fuels and the phasing in of clean,
 renewable energy sources - many of which are available now, such as wind
 and solar for electricity, hybrid and clean diesel technologies for cars".
     -- Americans recognize the need to act now on global warming. Only 12
 percent say "global warming is a problem and we have plenty of time to
 figure out the solutions." By contrast, 70 percent of Americans - including
 75 percent of women and 64 percent of men - said "global warming is a
 problem and we have limited time to figure out the solutions to it."
 Additionally, 55 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 70
 percent of Independents think the time for action on global warming is now.
 Only 4 percent of Americans think it is too late to do anything about
 global warming.
     -- More than two out of three Americans (67 percent) -- including 53
 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of
 Independents -- say we need leadership on global warming from Washington,
 D.C. because it is a national problem that will require national solutions.
 Only 13 percent of Americans think that current state and local leadership
 on global warming is sufficient.
     -- More than two out of five Americans (42 percent) -- including 48
 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of
 Independents -- think that an Independent is more likely to "take decisive
 leadership on the problems of global warming" than Democrats (36 percent)
 or Republicans (10 percent). Interestingly, only 58 percent of Democrats
 and 25 percent of Republicans see their own parties as being likely to
 exercise decisive leadership on climate issues. However, most Americans
 have a small degree of confidence (43 percent) or no confidence at all (28
 percent) that current elected officials will act decisively on global
 warming issues. By contrast, a total of only 25 percent of Americans have a
 good or very high degree of confidence this will happen.
     -- 80 percent of Americans -- including 70 percent of Republicans, 88
 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Independents -- agree that "the
 effects of global warming require that we take timely and decisive steps
 for renewable, safe and clean energy sources. We need transitional
 technologies on our path to energy independence. There are tough choices to
 be made and tradeoffs. We cannot afford to postpone decisions since there
 are no perfect options."
     -- If Americans could tell their power company/utility "where to get
 the power to run your house," nearly three out of five (58 percent) would
 say "use wind, solar and other clean-energy technologies," 26 percent had
 no preference. 11 percent picked nuclear power and only 3 percent opted for
 "coal-generated power." Women are more likely than men to support
 wind/solar power (66 percent versus 49 percent), whereas men are much more
 likely than women to express interest in nuclear power (17 percent versus 6
 percent). Nearly one in five Republicans (19 percent) picked nuclear power,
 versus 6 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Independents. Coal finds
 few friends along partisan lines: Republicans (4 percent); Democrats (3
 percent); and Independents (3 percent).
     -- Nearly two out of three Americans (65 percent) think "the United
 States is behind other nations in the research and development of new
 technologies, but we should be the world leader in global warming solutions
 -- and get the resulting benefits of taking action. Only 24 percent think
 the U.S. is behind but that "we should just focus on 'playing catch up' to
 other countries." More than four out of five Americans (81 percent) --
 including 72 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 72 percent
 of Independents -- think the U.S. should "lead by example" and reject the
 notion of waiting on global warming action until other nations -- such as
 China and India also act.
     -- Awareness varies among Americans about "the problems that can be
 associated with the mining of coal used by coal-fired power plants that
 generate electricity." While 89 percent of Americans had heard of coal mine
 collapses causing injury and death to miners, awareness levels were much
 lower for water pollution due to mining techniques such as coal sludge (60
 percent), floods resulting from trees and other vegetation being stripped
 away during the mining process (55 percent), mountain top removal coal
 mining (53 percent). One in 20 Americans said that they were unaware of any
 of these problems.
     -- Only about one in four Americans (24 percent) think "coal-fired
 power plants are not necessarily linked to global warming -- we should
 continue to use them." By contrast, a majority of Americans (53 percent)
 say "coal-fired power plants are dirty and contribute to global warming --
 we need to reduce the number of them through increased energy efficiency
 and available clean-energy technologies, such as wind and solar. That share
 of Americans is more than three times larger than the group (16 percent)
 who say "coal-fired power plants are dirty and contribute to global
 warming, but we should continue to use them.
     -- About nine out of 10 Americans (89 percent) -- including 50 percent
 who say "definitely yes" -- are "prepared to reduce energy demand and
 global-warming pollution from electricity - generating power plants by
 taking additional personal energy-efficiency steps" at home. Support for
 personal action is a largely bipartisan proposition, including 85 percent
 of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Independents.
     -- About nine out of 10 Americans (89 percent) would favor "enhanced
 home energy-efficiency standards for new homes and other construction in
 the United States in order to decrease heating and cooling energy
 consumption and related bills for consumers." Nearly three out of four
 Americans (73 percent) would favor "federal legislation that sets a uniform
 building code in order to establish national standards that will reduce
 energy demand and help to create the conditions for phasing out fossil
 fuels such as coal."
     -- About three out of four Americans (74 percent) -- including 63
 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of
 Independents -- would support "using a significant portion of those federal
 funds generated from gasoline sales to accelerate research and development
 into alternative fuel and energy sources that could reduce dependence on
 Middle East oil and also cut global warming pollution." Just over half of
 Americans (53 percent) -- including 43 percent of Republicans, 64 percent
 of Democrats and 47 percent of Independents -- would support a hike in
 federal gasoline taxes "if the increase was earmarked specifically for
 research and development for clean, alternative energy sources. Among such
 people, 71 percent would support up to a dime tax increases.
     -- More than four out of five Americans (81 percent) -- including 52
 percent who feel strongly about it -- agree that "we need higher federal
 fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles now in order to conserve more
 energy, making us less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, and to reduce the
 ill effects of global warming."
     -- About three out of four Americans (74 percent) -- including 71
 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of
 Independents -- agree with the following statement: "I am concerned that
 American automakers are falling further and further behind European,
 Japanese and Asian car companies when it comes to new fuel-saving
 technology and other advances. America can't afford to lose the jobs and
 investments that would be jeopardized if Detroit allowed itself to be
 overrun by foreign competitors." Only 10 percent of Americans strongly
 disagree with the statement.
     For full survey findings, please go to
     The CLEAN survey results are based on Opinion Research Corporation
 (ORC) telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 1,003 adults (501
 men and 502 women) age 18 and over, living in private households, in the
 continental United States. Interviewing was completed during the period of
 September 27-30, 2007. Completed interviews of the 1,003 adults were
 weighted by four variables: age, gender, region and race, to ensure
 reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population of the
 country. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is plus or
 minus 3 percentage points for the sample of 1,003 adults. Smaller
 sub-groups will have larger error margins.
     The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute
 (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a national think tank that serves
 as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among
 people, and between communities, government and business that can help to
 improve society. Since 2003, CSI has conducted more than 15 major national
 and state-level surveys on energy and global warming issues. Among other
 major projects, the Civil Society Institute is the sponsor of Citizens Lead
 for Energy Action Now (CLEAN), www.700Mountains.org, www.40mpg.org,
 www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org and www.RedWhiteandGreen.org.
     (1) For identification purposes only. Dr. Hansen is expressing personal
 opinions not representing NASA.

SOURCE Civil Society Institute, Newton, MA.; Save Our Cumberland Mountains