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
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
-- 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
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."
NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
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.
KEY SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
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
-- 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.
ABOUT THE CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
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