NEWS4 August 2009

Baird looks to research to change energy use

Government North America

US— The House of Representatives is set to vote on a proposal from Congressman Brian Baird that would establish a research programme to “identify and understand social and behavioural factors that influence energy consumption”.

Through his HR.3247 bill Baird hopes to probe public acceptance of new energy technologies and the rates of their adoption, and to use the results of research to improve the design, development and application of new energy sources.

A director of social and behavioural research would be appointed to develop and implement the research plan, with grants of up to $10m a year available through the Department of Energy from 2010 to 2015.

This bill has been passed by committee and will now be considered by the whole House. However, it looks set to face stiff opposition from some quarters.

Speaking on Fox News, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said the aims of the bill amounted to “behaviour modification” and that its introduction would “put us on the road to you-know-where” – to which anchorman Glenn Beck replied: “Hell or Moscow.”