A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 21 nations finds very strong support for the government requiring utilities to use more alternative energy, such as wind and solar, and requiring businesses to use energy more efficiently, even if these steps increase
Fewer than half of the nations polled favor putting more emphasis on nuclear energy or on coal or oil.
In all nations most people reject the view that shifting to alternative energy sources would hurt the economy, believing instead that it would save money in the long run.
"It is quite remarkable that there is such unanimity around the world that government should address the problem of energy by emphasizing alternative energy sources and greater efficiency," comments Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org. "Equally remarkable is how little the governments around the world are following the public's lead."
The poll of 20,790 respondents was conducted between July 15 and November 4, 2008 by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative research project involving research centers from around the world and managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Margins of error range from +/-2 to 4 percent.
Interviews were conducted in 21 nations, including China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Russia -- as well as Argentina, Azerbaijan, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Asked how much emphasis should be put on various approaches to the problem of energy, the most popular is for greater emphasis on solar or wind energy. Majorities favor this in 20 of 21 nations, while only Russia (a major oil producer) lags behind with just 50 percent in favor.
Support was strong even when it was specified that the cost of energy would go up. Asked whether they favor the government "requiring utilities to use more alternative energy, such as wind and solar, even if this increases the cost of energy in the short run," respondents in all but two nations favor the idea, led by South Korea (96%), France (88%), Kenya (87%) and Jordan (77%).