Climate Change or Nuclear Power in Britain

by Sam Peterson

Policymakers have been challenged to formulate and introduce innovative new legislation following major international environmental awareness agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol of 1992 (a treaty created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), but public opinion shifts have frequently trailed a growing scientific consensus regarding climate change. Pidgeon et. al. (2005) find that when presented with the options of a transition from burning carbon-based fuels to the daunting spectacle of nuclear power or an increased rate of climate change, much of the British public is indecisive. The study finds that the British public is “prepared to accept nuclear power if they believe it contributes to climate change mitigation,” but this is a “highly conditional view.” There is only “reluctant acceptance” of utilization of nuclear power by policymakers, mostly due to the risks of nuclear power production. Continue reading