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Understanding attitudes toward energy security: Results of a cross-national survey

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  • J. Knox-Hayes, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • M.A. Brown, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Y. Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, Denmark
  • Benjamin Sovacool
Energy security is embedded in a complex system encompassing factors that constitute the social environment in which individuals are immersed. Everything from education, to access to resources to policy and cultural values of particular places affects perceptions and experiences of energy security. This article examines the types of energy security challenges that nations face and characterizes the policy responses that are often used to address these challenges. Drawing from a survey of energy consumers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States, we conduct a cross-national comparison of energy security attitudes as well as analyze each country's energy resources, consumption characteristics and energy policies. Through multivariate regression analysis and case studies we find that socio-demographic and regional characteristics affect attitudes towards energy security. Specifically, we find a strong relationship between level of reliance on oil imports and level of concern for a variety of energy security characteristics including availability, affordability and equity. Our results reaffirm the importance of gender and age in shaping perceptions of security, but also extend existing literature by elucidating the impacts of country energy portfolios and policies in shaping climate and security perceptions. Level of development, reliance on oil, and strong energy efficiency policies all affect individuals' sense of energy security. In sum, we find that energy security is a highly context-dependent condition that is best understood from a nuanced and multi-dimensional perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Pages (from-to)609-622
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

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