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Public perceptions of climate change and energy futures before and after the Fukushima accident

Poortinga, Wouter ORCID: and Aoyagi, Midori 2013. Public perceptions of climate change and energy futures before and after the Fukushima accident. [Working Paper]. WSA Working Paper Series, vol. 012013. Cardiff: Welsh School of Architecture. Available at:

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The threats posed by climate change call for strong action from the international community to limit carbon emissions. Before the Fukushima accident that followed the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, both Britain and Japan were considering an ambitious expansion of nuclear power as part of their strategy to reduce carbon emissions. However, the accident may have thrown nuclear as a publicly acceptable energy technology into doubt. This study uses several nationally representative surveys from before and after the Fukushima accident to examine how it may have changed public perceptions of climate change and energy futures in Britain and Japan. The study found that already before the accident the Japanese public were less supportive of nuclear power than the British. Whereas British attitudes have remained remarkably stable over time, the Japanese public appear to have lost complete trust in nuclear safety and regulation, and have become less accepting of nuclear power, even if it would contribute to climate change mitigation or energy security. In Japan the public are now less likely to think that any specific energy source will contribute to a reliable and secure supply of energy. The implications for energy policy are discussed.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: ISSN 2050-8522
Publisher: Welsh School of Architecture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 12:04

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