Energy Attitudes and Literacy in Europe and Beyond: Implications for Energy Policymakers and Practitioners

Benjamin Sovacool

This presentation investigates how a mix of energy-users from 11 countries perceives energy and environmental issues such as the affordability of electricity and gasoline, the seriousness of climate change, and preferences for different energy systems. The purpose, in part, is to discuss the relationship between consumer perceptions of energy challenges, adoption of renewable energy, climate change, and the prices of energy services. The presentation’s primary source of data is a survey distributed in eight languages (English, Danish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, German, and Japanese) to 2495 respondents in Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States. Survey results are used to test various hypotheses about national, economic, political, professional, ethical, and epistemic dimensions to energy systems.  The data supports the propositions that many respondents identify with ‘‘being green’’ and prefer national and local policies that endorse sustainable technology and being self-sufficient. However, the data also challenges the propositions that people would prioritize low energy prices and affordability as key energy concerns and that they are knowledgeable about energy and environmental issues. In this way, a problematic gap may exist between what many academic articles (and previous surveys) report attitudes to be and what this presentation suggests they are.