Energy’s in the spotlight. That’s a good thing, right?

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Energy’s in the spotlight. That’s a good thing, right?

On December 31, 2008, Time Magazine’s cover story put energy efficiency front and center, calling efficiency a “miracle juice.” Our new president specifically referred to renewable energy in his inaugural address – a first – saying we will, “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

The new administration is putting it into practice. The DOE’s EERE Network News
summarized it best:

“The president’s ‘New Energy for America’ plan calls for a federal investment of $150 billion over the next decade to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. Specifically, the plan calls for renewable energy to supply 10% of the nation’s electricity by 2012, rising to 25% by 2025. The plan also calls for deploying energy efficiency, including the weatherization of one million homes each year. It also calls for an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to achieve an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And to help meet that goal, the plan sets a target of placing one million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015, along with a national standard to reduce the carbon emissions from our motor fuels. To help meet the plug-in hybrid goal, the plan calls for a new $7,000 tax credit for those who purchase advanced vehicles.”

All this is a great thing, right? Well, sort of. The truth is that less than 25% of Americans see themselves and their own consumption as the driving factor in increasing energy prices (Energy Pulse® 2008), and most blame the government for not solving the problem. So now that the government is stepping in to solve the problem, will Americans be motivated to do their part? Will they say the government hasn’t done enough when they watch their own monthly utility bills go up every month, thanks to increased consumption?

We need a combination effort – legislation (the sorts of things our new administration plans to do) partnered with education (consumer awareness campaigns). This has been the one-two punch that sent recycling participation up and smoking participation down. And it’s what will move energy efficient adoption and conservation behaviors into the mainstream.

FYI: if you’d like to check out the new administration’s energy plan, click here: New Energy for America plan

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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