Friday, January 20, 2006

"Survey shows opposition to nuclear is still high"

"Majority prefer renewables and efficiency over nuclear future" is how Edie reported the findings of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Ipsos MORI survey of public attitudes, we discussed two days ago.

It's interesting how different media slanted the results. But Edie says the main finding is "An overwhelming majority of people favour the promotion of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures as the best ways to tackle climate change rather than restarting a nuclear power programme".

"A majority of the British public still reject nuclear power as the preferred option for tackling climate change."

The survey found that 78% of respondents favoured renewables as the energy choice of the future, while 76% thought energy efficiency and lifestyle changes would be a better way of tackling emissions.

The results found high levels of concern about climate change among the British public and its findings seem to contradict a variety of polls over the past few years which tend to suggest a lessening of opposition to nuclear power.

It also shows the lack of faith that many people have in democracy these days, as 62% said that it doesn't matter what the public think of nuclear power as nuclear power stations will be built anyway. The Low Carbon Kid is happy to see that public scepticism is alive and well.

"The survey findings suggest that, given the numbers of people who are opposed to the renewal of nuclear power, there remains considerable potential for conflict around this issue. Additionally, many of those who do accept new nuclear power for Britain do so only reluctantly, and only if renewables and other strategies are developed and used alongside," Professor Pidgeo, who headed the survey, said.

"Ordinary people have a more sophisticated understanding of energy futures than many decision makers like to believe. This wider context is something which the Government should take very seriously during its own review."

Meanwhile, one of Professor Pidgeon's colleagues at the Tyndall Centre, Dr Kevin Anderson a senior research fellow, has said that claims that nuclear power can solve the problems of climate change are "simplistic" and that we can deal with climate change without nuclear power.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Anderson said that the UK could very easily compensate for the loss of energy from closing nuclear stations with simple measures in energy efficiency.

"If you've got money to spend on tackling climate change then you don't spend it on supply. You spend it on reducing demand," he said.

The Low Carbon Kid says "Let the people decide". Renewable energy? Yes please.

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