Indiana Energy/Climate Survey: Most In State Oppose More "Subrime" Investments In Coal, Nuclear Power

For Immediate Release

Civil Society Institute
Contact: 

Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or landerson@hastingsgroup.com

Indiana Energy/Climate Survey: Most In State Oppose More "Subrime" Investments In Coal, Nuclear Power

INDIANAPOLIS, IN / WASHINGTON, DC - If elected officials in
Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. are going to continue investing 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 600 Indiana adults conducted for TheCLEAN.org 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 Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana.

Key CLEAN/Civil Society Institute survey findings include the following:

  • Indiana residents do not favor proceeding immediately with two major coal gasification plants in the state.
    About four out of five state residents (81 percent) - including 72
    percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of
    Independents - favor focusing first on renewable-energy technology,
    stepped up energy-efficiency measures and promoting "green jobs" versus
    moving ahead now (15 percent) with two new coal gasification plants for
    electricity generation and synthesized gas production for sale to gas
    utilities, as has been proposed by the Administration of Indiana
    Governor Daniels.
  • Indiana
    residents want Duke Energy -- not the state's ratepayers -- to foot the
    bill for the utility's research & development (R&D) work on
    underground carbon-storage technology
    . More than four out five
    Indiana residents (84 percent) - including 79 percent of Republicans,
    87 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Independents-- say that "Duke
    Energy and shareholders should the bill for its own research and
    development (R&D)," compared to only 11 percent who think Indiana
    ratepayers should pay for Duke's R&D costs for technology that
    captures and stores carbon dioxide underground, as has been proposed by
    the electric utility and Indiana Governor Daniels.
  • Most
    Indiana residents want to see government aid for wind and solar power
    put on the same or better footing than coal-fired and nuclear power
    plants
    . Over half of Indiana residents (53 percent) and about
    the same number nationwide (52 percent) want the government to "evenly
    divide" any subsidies, tax breaks or other incentives for new
    construction "between nuclear power and coal-fired power plants and
    energy sources such as wind and solar." In Indiana 33 percent and 30
    percent of Americans would go further, having the government "shift all
    or most of them from nuclear power and coal-fired power plants to
    energy sources such as wind and solar." Only about 19 percent of those
    in Indiana and one in 10 Americans would "keep the incentives for
    nuclear power and coal-fired power the way they are today."

Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: "Indiana
residents 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 Indiana 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 Indianapolis 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, executive director of Consumer Action Coalition of Indiana, said: "It's
great to know that the majority of Indiana are very much in step with
the rest of the nation when it comes to moving forward on 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 such as wind and solar."

Smith, who also serves as national project coordinator for TheCLEAN.org,added: "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 Indianapolis 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. In fact, in
some respects, the residents of Indiana are even more inclined than
other Americans to look beyond coal and other carbon-based fuels to
renewable energy sources."

OTHER KEY FINDINGS

TheCLEAN.org/Civil Society Institute survey conducted by Opinion
Research Corporation also found the following about the views of
Indiana residents:

  • A
    halt to construction of new coal-fired power plants is supported by
    most Indiana adults. Nearly three out four respondents in Indiana (78
    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 by Indiana residents as the future of energy for
    America. In Indiana, 73 percent of respondents see oil or coal as a
    power 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 89 and 90 percent of those in Indiana
    and 92 percent and 88 percent of Americans, respectively.
  • Indiana
    residents pick clean energy over coal and nuclear power. Two out of
    three Americans and 70 percent of those in Indiana 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 (7 percent
    in Indiana) and just three percent would pick "coal-generated power"
    nationally versus 4 percent in Indiana.
  • Most
    Indiana residents know that time is running out to deal with global
    warming. More than three out of five in Indiana (64 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 Indiana see a positive or neutral economic
    impact from dealing with global warming. Fewer than one in five in
    Indiana and the nation as a whole (17 percent) believe that "action on
    global warming will hurt the U.S. economy," while over half (57 percent
    in Indiana 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) say that such action "will
    neither help nor hurt the economy."
  • Today's
    politicians are not seen as likely to act on climate issues. Two out of
    three in Indiana and in the nation as a whole, have "only a small
    degree of confidence" (42 percent in Indiana and 40 percent in the US)
    or "no confidence" (27 percent in US and 38 percent in Indiana) 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
    Indiana. More than nine out of 10 respondents in Indiana and the same
    proportion in the nation as a whole, (91 percent) say that "the views
    of candidates on energy-related issues -- such as gasoline prices, home
    heating oil prices, global warming and energy independence" will be
    important as they vote in 2008. Of this amount nearly three in five
    (64percent in Indiana and 58 percent in the US) say that energy issues
    will be "very important" to how they vote.

Other key findings include the following:

  • More than three out of
    four Americans (78 percent) and even more in Indiana (81 percent) agree
    with the following statement: "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."
  • More than
    nine out of Indiana residents (91 percent) agree with the following
    statement: "The reliance on fossil fuels is the product of the
    industrial revolution of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Do you
    think 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?
  • More than four out of five
    Americans (85 percent) do not think "the federal government is doing
    enough about high energy prices and the U.S. dependence on Middle
    Eastern energy sources. In Indiana the percentage is 87.
  • Over half (52 percent) of
    Americans - and an even higher share of Indiana residents (60 percent)
    -- are more likely to "buy a hybrid, clean-diesel or other more
    fuel-efficient vehicle now" than they were six months ago.
  • More than three out of four
    Indiana residents (76 percent) and just under seven out of 10 Americans
    (69 percent) think "the U.S. government should set a national goal of
    declaring July 4, 2015, as ‘Energy Independence Day' -- a real target
    date for ending our reliance on Middle Eastern and other foreign oil
    supplies.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY

The TheCLEAN.org/Civil Society Institute
poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN Services was a
telephone survey conducted among a sample of 600 adults (300 men and
300 women) aged 18 and older living in private households in the state
of Indiana. Interviewing was completed September 18-21, 2008. The
survey was weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate
representation of the total population. The margin of error for surveys
with samples of around 600 respondents, at the 95 percent confidence
level, is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Smaller sub-groups in any
survey will have larger error margins.

ABOUT CSI AND THECLEAN.ORG

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
TheCLEAN.org, 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).

TheClean.org (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 TheClean.org campaign.

 

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The mission of the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (http://www.citact.org) is to initiate, facilitate and coordinate citizen action directed to improving the quality of life of all inhabitants of the State of Indiana through principled advocacy of public policies to preserve democracy, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and provide affordable access to essential human services.

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