by Max Schulz



Manhattan Institute/Zogby Survey of Adults Question Frequencies

Manhattan Institute/Zogby Survey of Adults Question X-tabs






By Max Schulz
Senior Fellow, Center for Energy Policy and the Environment, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Analysts and elected officials alike, from across the political spectrum, routinely bemoan the fact that the United States lacks a coherent and effective national energy policy—one that will both fuel the needs of a growing economy and fulfill the public demand that our sources of energy be safe and clean. There is a long list of causes cited: the political divisions in Washington and related lack of will on the part of our representatives, as well as the lobbying of interest groups and what is said to be their influence. Our view of the problem is more fundamental. We believe that policymaking has been ineffective because it has simply not been well-grounded in fact. Indeed, it is little exaggeration to say that ignorance of the realities of our energy economy—as it relates to cost, safety, or extent of supply—is very much implicated in an energy policy that is too often either paralyzed or moving in contradictory ways.

The booklet in your hands aims to be a healthy corrective. Using the respected survey research of Zogby Associates, it details the degree to which Americans are unsure or under-informed about a host of critical energy and environmental issues. Perhaps more important, it provides explanations and information that can drive out the half-truths and misconceptions that litter so much of our nation’s debate about energy. Energy policy analyst Drew Thornley brings his background in both economics and law to the task of providing the basic facts that Americans should know when forming opinions about the direction that our policies should take. He provides a wealth of information—facts and figures from the most reliable sources in government and the academy—that policymakers at every level, from Washington to state capitals to county seats—would be wise to consult when crafting our laws and regulations.

President Barack Obama speaks often about his desire to transform our energy economy—and many Americans have responded enthusiastically to his call to build a “green” energy future that moves America away from dependence on fossil fuels. While his administration works with Congress on the ways and means to do so, it is worth taking the time to examine the specific nature and extent of the problem being addressed. How much energy do we use, and where does it currently come from? What is the extent of the promise of new sources of energy? How much can we rely on increased conservation and efficiency? These are the sort of questions that “Energy and the Environment: Myths and Facts” seeks to answer. It is meant as a dispassionate primer for those interested in sharpening their knowledge of issues whose importance will only grow in the years to come.




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Copyright The Manhattan Institute 2009