|Recent CSI Headline|
CHARLESTON, W.V. & WASHINGTON, D.C.///September 25, 2008//If elected officials in Charleston and Washington, D.C. are going to continue to invest in energy through subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives, the focus should shift from coal and nuclear power to promoting wind and solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, hybrids and other highly fuel-efficient cars, according to a new survey of 605 West Virginia adults conducted for CLEAN and the Civil Society Institute (CSI) by the leading U.S. survey firm Opinion Research Corporation (ORC). The CLEAN/CSI survey was released today with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OHVEC), Huntington, W.V.
Key CLEAN/Civil Society Institute (CSI) survey findings include the following:
Commenting on the findings, Janet Keating, executive director, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, WV, said: "It's great to know that the majority of West Virginians are in step with the rest of the nation when it comes to energy and climate issues. Now is the time for our state-level and national political leaders to begin the transition to a new energy future based on clean, renewable sources like wind and solar."
Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: “West Virginia residents and other Americans deserve credit for understanding that more investment by the state and federal governments in coal and nuclear power is essentially the same thing as investing in subprime mortgages. If U.S. taxpayers are going to directly or indirectly underwrite energy development and energy-intensive industries – such as the auto industry – we need to insist that state officials in Charleston and the next Congress and President make good, solid investments that make sense for the long-term of our country. The only energy investments that rise above the ‘subprime’ level today are wind, solar and other clean renewable energy in concert with enhanced energy efficiency.”
Grant Smith, national project coordinator, CLEAN, said: “Investments in coal and nuclear power are the Countrywide Financial subprime mortgages of the energy world. What the public is saying in this survey is that we support government making investments in the energy sources of tomorrow, but we have to stop flushing money down the drain by propping up the failing energy sources of yesterday, including oil, coal and nuclear. It makes no sense to be making 50-year investments in new coal-fired power plants. Energy efficiency and renewable technologies already have overtaken, in many instances, or will soon overtake, in other instances, coal-fired power in terms of direct cost and are far superior in terms of financial risk, economic benefit, and the ability address global warming. There is no viable model under which new nuclear power plants can be constructed as anything other than multi-billion-dollar public works boondoggles. After the current financial debacle on Wall Street, it is hard to imagine that Americans are going to allow more dumb investments by Charleston and Washington on the wrong energy sources.”
Opinion Research Corporation Senior Researcher Graham Hueber said: “What we see in our survey work is that national and state-level attitudes about energy and climate action vary relatively little, even when you drill down into views of the coal state of West Virginia. In fact, in some respects, the residents of West Virginia are even more inclined than other Americans to look beyond coal and other carbon-based fuels to renewable energy sources.”
OTHER KEY FINDINGS
The CLEAN/Civil Society Institute survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation also found the following about the views of West Virginia residents:
A halt to construction of new coal-fired power plants is supported by West Virginia residents. Nearly three out four respondents in West Virginia (71 percent) and 73 percent of Americans would support “a five-year moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the United States if there was stepped-up investment in clean, safe renewable energy --such as wind and solar --and improved home energy-efficiency standards.”
Wind and solar are seen as the future of energy for America. In West Virginia, 64 percent of respondents see oil as a power source of yesterday. Only 44 percent think coal is an energy source of yesterday. This compares to more than two out of three Americans who now see coal (70 percent) and oil (67 percent) as the “power sources of yesterday.” By contrast, solar and wind are seen as “power sources of tomorrow” by 90 and 86 percent of those in West Virginia and 92 percent and 88 percent of Americans, respectively.
Most Americans and most in West Virginia know that time is running out to deal with global warming. More than three out of five in West Virginia (62 percent) and a similar proportion of Americans (63 percent) believe that “global warming is a problem and we have limited time to figure out the solutions to it.”
The vast majority of those in West Virginia mirror the nation as a whole when they see a positive or neutral economic impact from dealing with global warming. Fewer than one in five in West Virginia and the nation as a whole (18 percent) believe that “action on global warming will hurt the U.S. economy,” while over half (53 in West Virginia and 51 percent in the US) believe “action on global warming will create new jobs and investment.” Just over a quarter (26 percent in the state and 28 percent in the nation) says that such action “will neither help nor hurt the economy.”
West Virginia residents pick clean energy over coal and nuclear power. Two out of three Americans and 56 percent of those in West Virginia would ask for wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies if they could “tell your power or utility company where to get the power to run your house.” By contrast, only 8 percent nationally would pick nuclear power (4 percent in West Virginia) and just three percent would pick “coal-generated power” nationally versus 18 percent in West Virginia.
Today’s politicians are not seen as likely to act on climate issues. Two out of three in West Virginia and in the nation as a whole, have “only a small degree of confidence” (45 percent in West Virginia and 40 percent in the US) or “no confidence” (26 percent in West Virginia and 27 percent in the US) that “our current elected officials in the United States will act decisively on global warming issues.”
Energy issues will figure prominently at the ballot box in November in West Virginia. Fewer than one in five in West Virginia and the nation as a whole (18 percent) believe that “action on global warming will hurt the U.S. economy,” while over half (53 in West Virginia and 51 percent in the US) believe “action on global warming will create new jobs and investment.” Just over a quarter (26 percent in the state and 28 percent in the nation) says that such action “will neither help nor hurt the economy.”
Other key findings include the following:
For complete survey findings, go to http://www.theclean.org/.
The CLEAN/Civil Society Institute survey is based on the findings of a telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation’s CARAVAN omnibus. The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,006 adults (503 men and 503 women) aged 18 and older living in private households in the Continental United States. Interviewing was completed September 12-15, 2008. The survey was weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population. The margin of error for surveys with samples of around 1,000 respondents, at the 95 percent confidence level, is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Smaller sub-groups in any survey will have larger error margins.
ABOUT CLEAN/CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
CLEAN (http://www.theclean.org) is a collaborative movement of state and local organizations and individuals who will encourage and support policy makers at all levels of government to implement new energy policies. The Civil Society Institute worked with grassroots organizations across the United States to help organize the CLEAN campaign.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a 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 20 major surveys and reports on energy and auto issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/ other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, global warming and renewable energy. In addition to being a co-convener of CLEAN, the Civil Society Institute also is the parent organization of 40MPG.org (http://www.40MPG.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).
The mission of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (http://www.ohvec.org) is to organize and maintain a diverse grassroots organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the environment through education, grassroots organizing and coalition building, leadership development and media outreach in West Virginia. OVEC is a non-profit group that was formed in 1987.
CONTACT: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio recording of the related CLEAN/ CSI news event will be available on the Web as of 7 p.m. EDT on September 25, 2008 at http://www.theclean.org and http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org.