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A hydropower station in Norway on the river Numedalslågen Credit: nedomacki/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
8 March 2017 0:01

Video: Prof Nick Pidgeon on European perceptions about climate change

Leo Hickman

Leo Hickman

Leo Hickman

Leo Hickman

08.03.2017 | 12:01am
InterviewsVideo: Prof Nick Pidgeon on European perceptions about climate change

Last June, more than 4,000 people across four European countries – France, Germany, Norway and the UK – were asked various questions about energy and climate change. The research was conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the European Perception of Climate Change Project, which is lead by Cardiff University.

Today, the findings of the survey have been published (pdf). They provide a range of insights into how attitudes differ – and overlap – across the four nations. Here is a sample of the report’s topline findings:

Carbon Brief spoke to Prof Nick Pidgeon, a professor of environmental psychology at Cardiff University’s school of psychology, who led the report’s research.

We began by asking him about the findings on attitudes towards the scientific consensus on climate change. He said:

We were quite surprised about [the result], but it is consistent with the other evidence from similar questions that have been asked in the US. It is thought this question may well be a gateway belief; that if you engage people with the question of climate change and can discuss with them the fact that the science really does agree – almost overwhelmingly – about the issue then they will be more concerned about climate change and be more prepared to take action to do something about it.

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On the differences between the countries on “energy preferences”:

People strongly supported renewable energy. They see that coal is not a fuel for the future. Very few people were supportive of fracking in any of the countries. The one big difference was on nuclear energy, where there was relatively low support in France, Germany and Norway, but more support than opposition in the UK.

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On attitudes toward energy subsidies:

When it came to paying for improvements in the energy system there was more ambivalence. For example, support for a tax on fossil fuels. Or for increasing the price of electricity to help combat climate change. How you actually pay for that – either through personal contribution or government funding – is more of an issue for people.

On support for the Paris Agreement:

It was more than two-thirds support in all four countries. In a way, that surprised us that there was such strong support for the international agreement that had been struck in Paris at the end of 2015. Also, interestingly, in relation to political developments in some countries – maybe, I don’t know, if some countries withdraw from the agreement – there was very strong support for penalties for countries which don’t actually collaborate with that agreement, or withdraw. So I think there was strong consensus in all four countries that, internationally, we have to move this forward in some way and the Paris Agreement is seen as one of the vehicles for that.

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Sharelines from this story
  • Video: Prof Nick Pidgeon on European perceptions about climate change
  • Unbeliever

    Amazing….that there is actually such a title: professor of environmental psychology. That’s a first for me. AGW dogma is going off the charts. And brainwashing in Europe is definitely working……they actually have professors handling that now.

    • john

      Considering the sheer volume of disinformation it is surprising that anyone has a clear view about the subject at all.
      The continued message about doubt has had a very strong outcome.
      Confusing people is working out fine and is the goal.
      Facts are just ignored in the parallel universe inhabited by people who frankly only care about themselves and have no empathy.

      • Unbeliever

        I agree about the disinformation but there are also basic facts missing……..both of which are justifiably casting doubt on the AGW dogma. I am not sure for whom you feel there should be empathy for.

        • john

          Basic facts as in the evidence is overwhelming.
          Solar energy received by earth is not increasing.
          Ever increasing higher records against low records.
          Decrease in land based Glaciers.
          Sea Ice decrease.
          Ocean temperature increase and this is the biggest part of earth.
          Empathy is not expressed by those who just do not care and have the idea that it is all about me and frankly do not care.
          So if you care you would understand that those who do not have any empathy for their fellow human beings are to be derided.

          As a footnote there is no doubt about AGW it is happening and will increase as time passes unless there is a slight disruption caused by a very large volcanic eruption which will cause a slight pause for a few years.

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