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How are Trump & Coal the same? both pollute the commons, people hate them, and vast majorities want them gone

November 22nd, 2017 · 4 Comments

For the first time in history, green energy is now cheaper than black energy. The world now has a unique opportunity to create a world that runs entirely on green energy.

With this reality in mind, Orsted (the Danish clean-energy firm formerly known as DONG (Danish Oil & Natural Gas)), chartered  the largest global survey ever focused on clean energy issues seeking to understand:

if people also want a green transformation and how they see challenges and benefits.

The short and sweet summary:

  • People think it is important to move to a world powered by clean-energy technology
    • and this support is true across educational levels, age groups, and ideological self-identification.
  • People love clean energy
    • and every country has vast majorities in favor of wind and solar.
  • People are seriously concerned about climate change
    • and rank it #2 (mistakenly behind terrorism) in terms of global security risks.
  • People support clean energy for many reasons
    • and want their nation leading (key: for nationalistic pride more than ecological or economic reasons).
  • People want government to be in the lead
    • and view it as necessity for energy companies to go/lead on clean energy.
  • People hate coal
    • and want it gone as fast as possible..
  • People in China are pretty much the strongest on all the above points
    • and thus demonstrate strong public support for the Chinese government’s massive investments to secure the leading role in the clean-energy revolution (and the associated economic benefits).

In the United States, the Federal Government is simply the opposite of what the public wants when it comes to clean-energy leadership. From Donald Trump on down, the climate-science denying, anti-clean energy investment pro-coal attitudes and objectives are at odds with global attitudes, necessities, and economic opportunities.  This clearly seems to be one of those reasons why, when it comes to both US and international publics, Trump and coal are seen in much the same way:

  • Large majorities understand that they are both polluting the commons and damaging to humanity’s future prospects;
  • Large majorities hate them; and,
  • Large majorities (globally AND in the United States) want both gone from the scene …
    • as soon as possible.

Trump, however, was not the focus of Orsted’s polling and analysis — that is on public attitudes toward clean energy transformation. There is much of interest in this 26,000, multi-national poll.  On first blush, there are two elements that seem somewhat surprising and revealing:

  1. That people, writ large, want their country to be aggressive in this domain
    1. While there is majority support re environmental benefits,
    2. the dominant/strongest reason is for “national pride”.
  2. The strength of Chinese public support
    1. for a serious #WarOnCoal and
    2. for Chinese leadership in clean energy.

As to China, as Dave Roberts, Vox , put it:

if you’re keeping track, China is No. 1 on seeing the importance of clean energy, No. 1 in wanting its government to be ambitious on clean energy, and No. 1 in wanting to phase out coal.

Three summary charts from the Orsted survey report.


Love Renewables


Hate Coal


Climate Change
Top International Security Threat/Risk

Humanity wants coal to be in the dustbin of history

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Tags: ActOnClimate · China · climate change · Energy · Public Opinion

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John Egan // Nov 25, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The climate left has destroyed the very idea of coalition.
    Any group that does not agree 100% –
    and agree that their issue – climate – is the #1 issue –
    is subjected to derision and scorn.

    Simply not true … but you have worked hard to promote the idea that we can / should pollute ever more for decades to come so that, at some magical point in the future, we could then turn to dealing with pollution levels.

    I contend that the climate left is bourgeois and reactionary.
    Regardless of any scientific input, its political feet are clay.
    And it is the central reason that progressive forces are in retreat worldwide.

    1. Yet again, it is climate activists who are ‘to blame’ for the rise of the repressive right — not globalization, economic disparity, not information technology (‘social media’), not … but, well, those who see a threat and seeks solutions to it.
    2. Is a ‘counter-revolution’ underway, at least in the United States?

    If you do not address the needs of the people, they will abandon you.

    And they have.

  • 2 John Egan // Nov 25, 2017 at 9:28 am

    PS – I do note the multiple uses of the word “hate”.

    Upset that public opinion, around the planet, is so strongly against coal?

  • 3 John Egan // Nov 25, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Funny – almost 85% of world energy use still derives from fossil fuels and you talk as though wind and solar constitute 50%. You know how much they contribute as of 2015? 2%.

    Yes, yes, it’s 6+% of electricity, but electricity is only about a quarter of total energy consumed.

    Coal, oil, and natural gas remain the largest energy sources – – by far. And to suggest otherwise is delusional. Then again, delusional thinking seems to be a honed skill of many in the climate left.

    You know those lovely folks who shut down the pipelines from Canada to the U.S.? Who got a slap on the wrist in Washington state, but are likely to encounter greater skepticism in Montana and North Dakota? How did they reach all of those remote locations in order to achieve their quixotic deed?

    Now, I’ve biked 100,000 plus miles – in 49 states – but I doubt they biked to the pipelines. And the irony – – they shut off energy as a political stunt fro their positions of affluence. Meanwhile, millions of American have their gas and electric shut off for them with energy support programs in tatters.

    And you wonder why people voted for Trump. As I have said before, most folks will choose the person who says, “I’m gonna fuck you over.” and does – rather than the one who says, “I’m gonna help you.” and fucks you over just the same.

    That’s the position of the Democrats currently. I have seen hundreds of communities devastated by environmental over-regulation as well as globalism. 82 bazillion delegates were in Bonn recently. Few people, and that includes most Democrats, appear to give a rat’s ass any more.

    Sure, people may say they prefer wind over coal. But they have been voting increasingly for Trumpsters, the Front National, the AfD, Geert Wilders, the Sweden Democrats. And that does not even include what is happening in places like Austria, Poland, and Hungary.

    Hope you wake up before it is too late.

  • 4 John Egan // Nov 26, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Otra Vez –

    As an out-gay man, I have some very real fears about the far-right goose step going on worldwide.

    I would think that you would have a couple of concerns, too.