Peak oil, not climate change worries most Britons  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Reuters has an interesting column on some polling done in Britain - Peak oil, not climate change worries most Britons.

Most people in Britain want to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but due more to fears of shortages and rising prices than to fears about climate change, according to a poll developed by researchers at Cardiff University and funded by the UK Energy Research Centre.

Nearly 2,500 people were surveyed across England, Scotland and Wales in August 2012. The results, published on Tuesday in a report on "Transforming the UK energy system: public values, attitudes and acceptability," provide a trove of information about public opinion on climate and energy policy.

By a large majority, respondents were either very concerned (24 percent) or fairly concerned (50 percent) about climate change and thought it was partly (48 percent) or mainly (28 percent) caused by human activity. Only a minority thought fears about climate change have been exaggerated (30 percent), though more expressed uncertainty about what the effects will really be (59 percent).

Nearly everyone agreed with the statement that Britain needs "to radically change how we produce and use energy by 2050". ...

By overwhelming majorities, those polled were fairly or very concerned gas and electricity would become unaffordable (83 percent); Britain will become too dependent on energy from other countries (83 percent); the country will have no alternatives if fossil fuels are no longer available (83 percent); and petrol will become unaffordable (78 percent).

Nearly four out of five respondents agreed the country should reduce its reliance on fossil fuels (79 percent). When asked for their reasons, respondents cited concerns about fossil fuels running out, being unsustainable or non-renewable (48 percent), costly (7 percent) and implied dependence on other countries (5 percent), compared with worries they are harmful to the environment and polluting (19 percent) or contribute to climate change (17 percent).

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