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Europeans positive about Renewable future

March 2003

A new survey indicates that Europeans have a positive image of renewable energy

Europeans positive about Renewable future

Today in Brussels, the EU Research Commissioner presented the findings of a survey on Energy: Issues, options and technologies. The Eurobarometer survey is based on interviews with some 16,000 citizens from 15 EU Member States.

One of the main findings is that the EUs dependency on external energy supply is seen as a real problem, leading citizens to call for further research into new energy sources and the development of new technologies for energy-saving methods.

"We all know energy consumption is on the rise, and that this increase is not sustainable in the long term but we do not want to change our habits. That is the energy paradox," said Commissioner Phillippe Busquin. "Europeans see the need for action aimed at the development of new energy sources, such as nuclear fusion and renewable energies."

What are the solutions for the future?

Some of the surveys main findings are:

  • The image of renewable energy is very positive. People believe that these sources of energy can work.
  • Renewable sources of energy are perceived as being less expensive, particularly environment-friendly, and producing useful energy in sufficient quantities.
  • EU citizens expect to see significant spin-offs for the protection of the environment and want more action in the field of renewable energy sources and cleaner means of transport.

However, almost nine out of ten respondents consider global warming and climate change to be serious problems requiring immediate action. How might this affect their responses to the survey? What might the findings be if these issues were not considered important by respondents?

Citizens views and their priorities vary from country to country: Greece, Spain, Italy and Finland favour the idea of developing new energy technologies, whereas other countries: Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK, put greater emphasis on saving energy. Why do you think this is?

Saving Energy...who cares?

Changing individuals behaviours

The survey shows that most Europeans are essentially unaware that their individual behaviours can have a potential impact on the overall picture of energy production and consumption. It was found that a majority of EU citizens believe that industry could have the greatest impact on energy saving and prefer measures which do not impose obligations on individuals. For example, only a quarter of those interviewed would agree to stricter regulations of the insulation of buildings.

Energy efficient technology

However, more than one third of respondents say that when they buy equipment or household appliances, energy consumption is an important factor influencing the decision for or against a given product. A significant proportion of Europeans are prepared to pay more for energy coming form renewable sources.

How is nuclear energy perceived?

Europeans are concerned about safety, according the survey. In particular, worries over nuclear power plants and nuclear waster continue. In the case of nuclear fusion, many interviewees do not really know what it is.

What is the role of transport?

According to the survey, most Europeans seem to be unaware that transport has a considerable impact on overall energy consumption and safety.

Source: Europa the European Union Online

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