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The citizens of the United States generally oppose new energy developments, yet the public does not want to go without cheap, plentiful energy. This book explores the intricate relationship between public opinion and energy issues. Using the state of California as a model, the author addresses such questions as, What roles do ideology and other values play in influencing opinions on energy issues? How much does the public understand about energy issues? Who favors further oil development or the expansion of nuclear power? How have people's opinions changed over time and how are they likely to change in the future? Are people guided by self-interest or other motives? Energy, the Environment, and Public Opinion sheds light on how much the public understands about energy policy, what the public wants officials to do about our energy problems, and how governments at various levels are likely to come to grips with energy shortages in the future.
How do Americans think about energy? Is the debate over fossil fuels highly partisan and ideological? Does public opinion about fossil fuels and alternative energies divide along the fault between red states and blue states? And how much do concerns about climate change weigh on their opinions? In Cheap and Clean, Stephen Ansolabehere and David Konisky show that Americans are more pragmatic than ideological in their opinions about energy alternatives, more unified than divided about their main concerns, and more local than global in their approach to energy. Drawing on extensive surveys they designed and conducted over the course of a decade (in conjunction with MIT's Energy Initiative), Ansolabehere and Konisky report that beliefs about the costs and environmental harms associated with particular fuels drive public opinions about energy. People approach energy choices as consumers, and what is most important to them is simply that energy be cheap and clean. Most of us want energy at low economic cost and with little social cost (that is, minimal health risk from pollution). The authors also find that although environmental concerns weigh heavily in people's energy preferences, these concerns are local and not global. Worries about global warming are less pressing to most than worries about their own city's smog and toxic waste. With this in mind, Ansolabehere and Konisky argue for policies that target both local pollutants and carbon emissions (the main source of global warming). The local and immediate nature of people's energy concerns can be the starting point for a new approach to energy and climate change policy.
This book deals with a pivotal issue often marginalized by sociological analysis: the relationship between energy and society, with different contributions from several European scholars. The articles cover a series of topics concerning energy policies, risk communication, and sustainable development. The increasingly complex social organization emerging from the energy shifts of the last two centuries, incorporates an increasing quantity of expert knowledge. Quite paradoxically, when the expert systems seem to be realizing the dream of total control on the uncertainty of the events, any occasional accident reveals to be a check for them contributes to undermining their credibility. Following the idea of a post-democratic turn, this kind of mistrust can be considered a different face of political elites and politics in general, in the frame of a radical change concerning political culture in the last several decades. This change is clear in areas such as risk communication, governance, and energy policies.
Examines the potential and limits of technical solutions to environmental problems.
Presidents spend millions of dollars on public opinion polling while in office. Critics often point to this polling as evidence that a “permanent campaign” has taken over the White House at the expense of traditional governance. But has presidential polling truly changed the shape of presidential leadership? Diane J. Heith examines the polling practices of six presidential administrations—those of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton—dissecting the poll apparatus of each period. She contends that while White House polls significantly influence presidential messages and responses to events, they do not impact presidential decisions to the extent that observers often claim. Heith concludes that polling, and thus the campaign environment, exists in tandem with long-established governing strategies.

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