The vast majority of Europeans believe investment in renewable energy should be prioritised over the next 30 years, compared to alternative energy sources including shale gas, nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants.
That is just one of the findings of a major survey of over 25,500 citizens of EU member states
carried out to inform the European Commission's comprehensive review of EU air policy, which found that despite a campaign by industry to promote shale gas as a cost effective and lower carbon alternative to coal, just nine per cent of Europeans believe unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas should be prioritised.
Renewable energy boasted the highest level of support with 70 per cent of people saying it should be prioritised.
The poll, was based on telephone interviews carried out last September, asked which energy options should be prioritised over the next 30 years, with respondents allowed to pick a number of different options.
In contrast, 28 per cent said energy efficiency measures should be prioritised, 18 per cent favoured nuclear energy and 12 per cent signalled support for CCS projects.
"Respondents are least likely to mention unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas (nine per cent) and conventional fossil fuels (eight per cent)," the report stated. "The great majority think renewable energy sources should be prioritised (70 per cent). This is by far the most mentioned option. All the other options have been mentioned by less than one-third of the respondents."
The findings were welcomed by European Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, who argued the results reveal "an understanding that we can not just keep using precious resources in the way we have in the past and continue to do today".