Post Fukushima Nov 2012 Event: Nuclear Policy 100,000 year legacy

Although the issues raised at our Post Fukushima Update Event in November 2012 are all well covered in our newsletter with speaker presentations also posted on our newsblog, owing to unexpected developments only three of the five planned speakers were able to join us. Their respective small groups focused on the following issues:
  • Group 1:How do we manage the politics, electoral expediency, power and influence of the fossil fuel industries;
  • Group 2: How do we consult, weigh and respond to public opinion with the possibility of changing it, that is, to generate support for a climate changing energy policy?
  • Group 3: Implications for energy policy in UK

A well attended event with a highly knowledgeable audience of all ages across the social spectrum explored social policy, energy policy and climate change issues left us in no doubt that we’re leaving today’s youth a legacy of 100,000 years and still cannot say how the situation will look either now or in the future.  In that context it was stressed that:

  1. agreed targets will not be met;
  2. large scale global behaviour change is critical;
  3. Govt has a different mindset (not necessarily correct) on climate change and nuclear policy;
  4. UK is a small country which is no longer a great power in the arms race;
  5. Japan is undergoing major societal disruption and relocation;
  6. Germany has second thoughts of its recent decision to revoke nuclear fuel;
  7. Energy intensive industries are powerful but growth goes against sustainability;
  8. False economy of carbon credits fails to deliver offshore manufacture.

In relation to socio/geo-political issues raised we covered a comprehensive gamut of controversial issues which seems to be typical of the nuclear/energy/climate change debate:

  1. Energy & Energy Policy:
      1. China froze nuclear,
      2. Germany’s knee-jerk reaction
      3. Japan cant import energy sources.
      4. GDP improved by coal and oil energy.
  2. Economy & War:
      1. Global warming & Armageddon–resources war for water, fuel, food, clothing with psychological impact.
      2. Human terms and societal survival unknown to our young people.
      3. Standard of living unsustainable and world’s seismic change is the only way to change.
      4. More nuclear capacity creates need for nuclear weapons;
      5. National and International Influencing factors: Public opinion can influence and make change to policy in place.
      6. Trust and transparency in energy policy decision making
      7. More emphasis on energy efficiency required.
      8. How to recognise spin, misinformation and partial omissions exploited by energy suppliers to show climate change concept is rubbish.
      9. During Fifties engineers misled us on renewables alleging falsely that they are too expensive.
      10. Short document delivered by person trusted and in authority. 
  3. Public opinion issues
      1. clarity on opinion, surveys, how to ask questions, who gets asked or completes surveys
      2. how to involve people in research/opinion polls?
      3. How do other countries survey opinion of an incident to elicit trend;
      4. Who shouts loudest.
      5. Is public opinion swayed by people with the tension of disparate public opinion, populism v pragmatism; independent v political expediency or biased by Govt Policy?
  4. Education, Behaviour change & Standard of living:
      1. Educated v understand the issues;
      2. sometimes you have to accept the expert;
      3. What is good for you; what you like v need to do;
      4. People need better education with clearer information.
      5. Ability to evaluate and minimise risk: Save energy, change behaviour;
      6. Major value factors: co-operation/collaboration rather than competition.
      7. Indicators to measure society progress: health, education; people fired by sheer terror.
  5. Climate & temperature change:
      1. UK Gov’t commits to reduce C02 by 2050;
      2. Flooding, freak cool periods, 4oC/tipping point, Gulf Stream
      3. Fuel types, direct and indirect costs of renewable/Greenfield, fossil fuels with capital costs, external costs and exploitation; and nuclear
  6. Political influences: 
      1. Use taxation to enforce behaviour?
      2. Recognise independent information with cross party collaboration for society to survive.
      3. CND/Green Peace Alliance discourage nuclear, focus to influence other more powerful lobbies.
      4. Weight of Political Party opinion: industry, academic, public, first past the post Inquiry; judge civil service?
      5. Tory perspective of economic headway is fossil intensive, foreign manufacturing and other commercial activities.
      6. Economic denial of emissions increasing.
      7. Larger more affluent populations use more energy and unable to build enough reactors.


About actionforinvolvment

We're an independent think tank, founded in 2006 to bring people in our communities together with policymakers and stakeholders. We create space often in a workshop format to pool ideas, develop networks and tackle hot topics. Since 2009, we’ve focused on the sustainability agenda such as: climate change, energy, housing, technology, transport with interest in:education, health, welfare, regulation and enforcement. Our latest project is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant and our next event on 27th June 2013 includes George Monbiot with other high level environmental policy makers.
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