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Tag Archives: public perception

Renewables and nuclear both have problems

By Dave Elliott

Nuclear and renewables continue to be seen as rivals, with, as part of the debate, studies emerging that address their problems. A study by the Energy Institute at University College London says the UK’s proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be obsolete by the time it starts up (possibly EDF says in 2025/6) since it will be in competition with cheaper low carbon options, including wind and PV solar. These sources are variable, but at times they will produce all the electricity needed, leaving no room for Hinkley unless their output is curtailed. At other times they will only make small contributions, but the UCL team calculates that only around 20GW of ‘firm’ inputs like Hinkley will be needed to operate for more than half the year by 2030 to meet the gaps and peak demand. And there are cheaper more flexible balancing options for this than Hinkley.


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Too hot to handle

By James Dacey,

As the scientific community has moved towards a stronger consensus that man made climate change is happening, the general public must have become less sceptical about the issue – right?


Well, wrong in the case of the British public, according to social scientist Lorraine Whitmarsh, who carried out separate opinion surveys in 2003 and 2008.

Over this five year period, the number of respondents who believe that claims about the effects of climate change have been exaggerated has risen from 15% to 29%.

What’s more, over half of respondents in the latest survey feel that the media have been too “alarmist” in their reporting of the issue.

Sceptics are more likely to be men, older people, rural dwellers and – perhaps surprisingly – higher earners.

Speaking at the British Science festival in Guildford, Whitmarsh also referred to a recent poll by Euro barometer to say that Brits are more sceptical than most Europeans on the issue.

When asked if she could explain the rising scepticism, Whitmarsh replied that it could be something to do with the way science is taught in British schools.

“Perhaps the way we teach science should reflect the inevitable uncertainty of
the scientific process,” she said.

James Dacey,

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