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11 June 2010
According to results of a new survey published today (Friday 11 June 2010), despite a decline in concern about climate change, the majority of the British public still believe the climate is changing and say they are prepared to act on this.As the new Government begins to get to grips with the task of meeting its climate change obligations while also renewing the energy supply system for Britain, new survey results published today report the British public’s attitudes towards these issues.
The research represents the first independent nationwide survey of these topics since the winter controversies over climate science, and finds that belief in climate change remains high although the numbers believing this has decreased with time.The study reveals:
The survey reveals very high levels of concern about energy security issues.
Professor Nick Pidgeon, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, who led the research team, explained that "the country is faced with a range of critical decisions on both climate change and energy production and use which will affect us all. Whether new nuclear power, major wind farms, or encouraging people to conserve energy, we need to understand how public attitudes will impact on decisions. This new research helps us to understand how public views on these issues are changing".The study, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Trust, surveyed a representative sample of 1,822 people across England, Scotland and Wales and was carried out by researchers from School of Psychology and the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, in conjunction with Ipsos MORI.The detailed results are being presented and discussed at a meeting on Friday 11th June at the Royal Society in London, and include the following key findings:Beliefs about Climate Change
Beliefs about Energy Security
Beliefs about Nuclear Power
Beliefs about Renewable Energy
However, only 39% of the sample currently favour the construction of a Barrage across the Severn (with 24% slightly or strongly opposed to this proposition).Commenting on the results, Professor Pidgeon added: "The results do show a rise in those who hold doubts about the reality of climate change, although this may not be as significant as some had first feared. We were surprised to see the very high levels of concern about energy security, and conclude that support exists for an energy policy framed around both the future security of supplies and realistic action to address climate change. In terms of developing a low carbon energy economy for Britain, renewables are clearly favoured whilst nuclear power remains unpopular but may be accepted alongside the development of a range of other energy sources."The research was funded with additional support from The Leverhulme Trust (www.leverhulme.ac.uk).ENDS
Notes for Editors1.For further information, a copy of the report or to arrange an interview with Professor Nick Pidgeon or the other Principal Investigators (Dr Alexa Spence or Dr Wouter Poortinga) please contact: Lowri JonesCardiff University Public Relations Office029 2087 0995e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. These are initial findings. A full copy of the survey report will be available from 11th June 2010 at www.understanding-risk.org3. The full title of the report is Spence, A., Venables, D., Pidgeon, N., Poortinga, W. and Demski, C. (2010). Public Perceptions of Climate Change and Energy Futures in Britain: Summary Findings of a Survey Conducted in January-March 2010. Technical Report (Understanding Risk Working Paper 10-01). Cardiff: School of Psychology4. The survey was conducted in Britain between 6th January and 26th March 2010. A nationally representative quota sample of the British population aged 15 years and older (n=1822) were interviewed face-to-face in their own homes in 315 sampling locations by the social research company Ipsos MORI (www.ipsos -mori.com). The full British sample of 1,822 is based on a core sample of 1,528, to which additional booster samples from Scotland (109) and Wales (185) were added. All data have been weighted to the known profile of the British population. The data based on the sample of 1,822 are accurate to within +/- 2.6% for a 50% finding (95 times in 100).5. The ESRC is the UK’s largest funding agency for research relating to social and economic issues. It has a track record of providing high-quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and Government. The current budget of £203 million (2008/2009) funds over 4000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and policy research institutes throughout the UK http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk6. The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £50 million every year. For further information about the schemes that The Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at www.leverhulme.ac.uk.7. Cardiff School of Psychology. The School of Psychology is one of Britain’s top-rated schools of psychology. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, it was ranked first in the UK on the basis of overall quality of research and numbers of staff whose work was submitted. In an independent assessment of its teaching, conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the School was rated ‘Excellent’.8. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.
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