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Shared vision for a decarbonized future energy system in the United States

Version
1
Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
Creator
  • Attari, Shahzeen (Indiana University Bloomington)
Publication Date
2020-01-02
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
    • Award Number: SES-1658804
Free Keywords
[energy transitions; , future thinking; political polarization; ]
Description
  • Abstract

    How do people envision the future energy system in the United States with respect to using fossil fuels, renewable energy, and nuclear energy? Are there shared policy pathways of achieving a decarbonized energy system? Here we present results of an online survey (N = 2,426) designed to understand public perceptions of the current and future energy mixes in the U.S. (i.e., energy sources used for electric power, transportation, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors). We investigate support for decarbonization policies and anti-decarbonization policies and the relative importance of climate change as an issue. Surprisingly, we find bi-partisan support for a decarbonized energy future. Although there is a shared vision for decarbonization, there are strong partisan differences regarding the policy pathways for getting there. On average our participants think that climate change is not the most important problem facing the U.S. today, but they do view climate change as an important issue for the world today, and for the U.S. and world in the future.
  • Weighting

    NA
  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: As an attention check, participants were asked to describe what the survey was about, and all individuals who provided a response that broadly referenced energy, climate change, or politics passed the attention check (failed by 248 participants). Of the participants who failed the first attention check, a second open-ended response was read and coded for coherence. Individuals who did not pass the second check were removed from the sample, resulting in a total sample of N = 2,429. We limit our analysis to this sample.
  • Technical Information

    Presence of Common Scales: To evaluate policy preference participants were asked to indicate their support or opposition to 12 energy policies using a 5-point Likert scale from strongly support to strongly oppose. The policies were balanced such that six decarbonization policies were included (e.g., a carbon tax, funding renewable energy) and six anti-decarbonization policies were included (e.g., investing in coal-fired power plants, decreasing subsidies for wind and solar energy sources). These 12 energy policies were selected through an iterative process to determine inclusion in this study. First, a list of policies was developed which included policies from the news and previous surveys. Next, policies were divided into decarbonization and anti-decarbonization categories. Policies were then selected to be balanced between decarbonization and anti-decarbonization, address at least one energy source, and were general and clear enough to be understood and interpretable by participants after extensive pre-testing.

    As a measure of how climate change ranked in comparison to other salient voting issues, participants were asked to rate the importance of four issues (access to quality health care, economy and jobs, climate change, and immigration) on a 4-point Likert scale from not at all important to extremely important. Importance for all 4 issues was rated for the U.S. today, U.S in the future, the world today, and the world in the future. After rating the importance of each issue, participants were asked to indicate which of the four issues they believed to be the most important.

    Next, to evaluate behavioral intention related to these four issue topics, participants were asked to indicate how likely they would be to volunteer their time to an organization, donate money, or contact their government representatives and urge them to take action. Participants provided a self-report on a 5-point Likert scale from very unlikely to very likely for all four issues.

    We asked participants about their climate change beliefs. The lead-in passage and items were similar to those used by Howe et al.(30) assessing climate change importance to the participant personally and whether the participant believed climate change was happening.

    The survey concluded with socio-demographic questions about gender, age, income, level of education, political ideology, political party affiliation, and ZIP code.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2019-01-01 / 2019-12-31
    Time Period: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2019--Tue Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2019 (Feb 2019)
  • 2019-01-01 / 2019-12-31
    Collection Date(s): Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2019--Tue Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2019 (Feb 2019)
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Adults on Mturk in the United StatesSmallest Geographic Unit: United States
Sampling
Participation was limited to residents of the United States who were aged 18 years and older.
Collection Mode
  • web-based survey~~

    Adults (N = 2,529) were recruited online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Mturk) in February 2019 and were compensated $2.50 for their participation. Participation was limited to residents of the United States who were aged 18 years and older.

Availability
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Update Metadata: 2020-01-16 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-01-16

Attari, Shahzeen (2020): Shared vision for a decarbonized future energy system in the United States. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.3886/E117262V1