Global poll finds most people favour solar power
Robust support for renewables is shown in 21 countries, including SA
Amsterdam — More than two-thirds of the world’s population favours solar energy, five times more than public support for fossil fuels, a global poll has found.
The survey, conducted by Glocalities in collaboration with advocacy groups Global Citizen and The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, was based on interviews with more than 21,000 people in 21 countries between January and June.
The countries included Australia, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Mexico, SA, South Korea, Turkey and the US.
With 68% support, solar power was the most popular energy source, trailed by wind (54%), hydropower (35%) and nuclear (24%), with only 14% of respondents saying they favoured fossil fuels, the survey found.
The Glocalities poll reinforced other surveys showing robust support for renewables in Europe and the US. The EU’s latest Eurobarometer in May-June found 85% of Europeans support “investing massively” in renewable energies, such as wind and solar power.
A Pew Research Centre poll from early 2022, which predated a global spike in energy prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, showed 69% of US adults prioritised developing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar over expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas, down from 79% two years earlier.
Fossil fuels, however, still accounted for 77% of global energy consumption in 2022, said Michael Sheldrick, co-founder and chief policy, impact and government affairs officer at Global Citizen. “This ‘production gap’ highlights a concerning paradox: despite strong public support for renewable energy, fossil fuel production remains prevalent,” he said.
“Regardless of demographic or political affiliation, Democrat or Republican, solar power emerges as the world’s preferred energy source ... [which] indicates that there exists a common ground where political agendas can align with the clear demands of citizens,” Sheldrick said.
Global energy demand rose 1% last year and record renewables growth did nothing to shift the dominance of fossil fuels, the most recent Statistical Review of World Energy report said.
Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% by 2030 from 2019 levels to have any hope of meeting the international Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
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