I’ve long thought that the message framing around renewable energy is much more appealing (Let’s make clean energy cheaper!  Build the industries of the future!  Cool technology and jobs for everyone!  It’ll be like the dotcom boom all over again!  But without the dumb names!) than that of carbon cap-and-trade (Let’s put a price on carbon!  Make fossil fuels more expensive!).

And it turns out that most Americans agree–at least, according to a new poll by Burson-Marsteller. 

When asked their preference for addressing energy needs, a dominant plurality identified increasing use of renewable energy (34%), with only 9% preferring the cheapest energy sources.

The best way to acheive this result?  A whopping 41% of the general population (and 52% of ‘green elites) identified renewable requirements for utilities (i.e. RPS), versus only 22% (and 24% of ‘green elites’) who think that ‘putting a price on carbon’ is the way to go.

Cost is the main barrier, according to the poll.  Americans are willing to pay $18 more a year for clean energy, but think it will cost $62. 

Which is why it is so important to make the case that inaction (and new coal plants) are not cheap…and that renewables are.  Even the Wall Street Journal says that wind makes Texas electricity cheaper, and if they say it, it must be true.