The 4th Workshop
Workshop | 2012.9.25

Date:25th, Sep, 2012

Location: Hokkaido University, The Humanities and Social Science Building, room W202

Participants: Tatsuya Kameda, Susumu Ohnuma, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Taiki Takahashi, Taisuke Miyauchi, and other 8 participants (total 13 participants)

Speakers: Dr Wouter Poortinga (Welsh School of Architecture & School of Psychology, Cardiff University)

Title: Public Perceptions of Climate Change and Energy Futures

The main challenge of current energy policy is to mitigate climate change alongside delivering reliable and secure energy supplies. Meeting climate change and energy security targets requires major shifts towards low-carbon energy production as well as significant reductions in the demand for energy. Public perceptions and attitudes are critically important to this transition: not only do individuals need to personally change their behaviour, they will also have to accept new low-carbon energy technologies and facilities in order to decarbonise the energy they are using. This presentation gives an overview of research conducted in the UK on public perceptions of climate change (CC) and energy security (ES), with a specific reference to nuclear power (NP). First, the presentation will discuss how public perceptions of CC have changed over the years. It will (a) explore how widespread climate scepticism is, using a trend, attribution, and impact scepticism framework, (b) examin
e CC from a psychological distance perspective, describing it according to the four theorised dimensions of uncertainty, and temporal, social and geographical distance, and (c) show how first-hand experiences with flooding affects perceptions of CC. Second, the presentation will discuss public attitudes to NP. It will (a) give a historical overview of public responses to NP as a uniquely dreaded and unknown risk, (b) show how public attitudes have been affected by accidents, such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and (c) discuss how the public has responded to attempts to ‘reframe’ nuclear power as a possible solution to climate change, using the construct of ‘reluctant acceptance’. Third, the presentation will discuss how (UK) public perceptions of NP as a solution to CC have changed since the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident in Japan.