A year-long study conducted by a stakeholder relations firm showed many Filipinos now consider renewable energy development as the solution to the swelling global prices of fuel and other petroleum products.
The study, titled Word on Renewable Energy, was based on a comprehensive audit of mainstream media and on-line communities, which published or tackled issues regarding development and use of renewable energy.
In the study made by RE Coalition, an average of 99 articles on renewable energy got published in mainstream media every month, peaking during the commemoration of International Earth Day in April and again in November 2007 when calls for the passage of renewable energy bills started.
“Coverage on mainstream media reflected the sentiment that renewable energy is a viable means for the country to achieve energy security and reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels,” the coalition said in a statement.
The group, which was commissioned by EON Inc. to make the study, said the articles published, when translated to audience reach, could have potentially been read by at least two million people everyday from November 2006 to November 2007.
The group even noted the media allowed more articles about renewable energy sources as the prices of unleaded gas and diesel increased.
The group took the trend as an indication that renewable energy development is seen as a solution to the practical concerns of surging global oil prices.
On the other hand, the study said that an average of 30.6 conversations on the issue were observed in on-line social media channels such as YouTube, Multiply, Blogger and other Internet-based resources over the last five months.
The study said that social media conversations, which are primarily exchanges among the youth, perceive renewable energy as a means to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“The youth recognizes the need for cleaner and more efficient energy sources that will not contribute to global warming and adversely affect the environment,” the study said.
As a whole, the RE Coalition said, the study indicates that people largely see renewable energy as a practical solution to address the twin concerns of energy security and climate change.
The study also showed the public is considering a shift from fossil fuel use which is perceived to bring greater good to the country because renewable energy would increase investments in the country’s energy sector; add support to initiatives that would bring about growth and development in the country; and provide power to small communities and off-grid areas.
“The study aimed to grasp public sentiments on renewable energy and identify sources of these sentiments. It also aimed to establish the relationship of mainstream and social media content to major events and other external factors, and to draw conclusions from the discourse on renewable energy occurring in mainstream media and social media,” the group explained.
Given the findings of the study, the group urged the government to take in the growing clamor for a more viable clean energy source by passing the Renewable Energy Bill.
The group said decisive policy action must be put in place as the country seeks sustainable solutions to achieve energy security and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“The passage of the RE Bill would be one of the most important policy actions that need urgent attention. We hope our policy makers realize the immense benefit this bill can give to future generations,” the group said.
Word on Renewable Energy covered a total of 1,490 articles and discussion both in print and the Internet.–Katherine Adraneda, Philippine Star