How to win friends and influence people (to support renewables)

» By | Published 20 Apr 2011

An online discussion forum named Comment: Visions is featuring a pertinent discussion on energy and environment issues this month: ‘How can government and industry win public support for new low-carbon technologies’?

While I encourage you to browse the forum itself, here are some interesting quotes from the discussion:

Rémi Gruet, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor on Climate and Environment from EWEA, emphasises that public support already exists: “The October 2010 EU opinion poll (Eurobarometer on biotechnologies) starts with a simple question: Do you think the following technologies will have a positive or negative impact on your life? Answers from EU citizens are unequivocal: 82% think wind energy will have a positive impact.”

Supporting Gruet’s view, Rene Tammist, Policy Advisor at the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, adds that support for renewables has “not faded away due to the economic recession as some commentators claim.”

According to Kai Imolauer, from Roedl & Partner, Nürnberg, Germany, if citizens get a chance to be part of a project, through financial participation, while also feeling they are playing a part in the battle against climate change, they will accept a project. “Making the project for the people and with the people is our strategy,” he states.

Putting a strong and clear message across, Bas Eickhout MEP, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, says: “Investing in climate friendly technologies can bring about a healthier society for our EU citizens and a revitalization of the European economy by creating millions of new jobs.”

Katie Christensen, from the Nordic Folkcenter for Renewable Energy in Denmark, says that we all must take responsibility for the damage that has been done to our climate. “We need to communicate to our local and national politicians that we want policies in place that enable and encourage local and community participation in conservation first, and truly sustainable energy production second. And we need to stop waiting for someone else or some other nation to act first.”

Echoing many other views, Nessa Childers, a MEP on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, says: “The best way again is to make it a win-win for the local communities, by reducing their energy bills and getting them involved in the planning process.”