Energy Sources – What the Australian public thinks

Nick Bruse runs StrikeConsulting, a cleantech venture consultancy; hosts the cleantech show on the podcast network; and advises Clean Technology AustralAsia Pty Ltd; the organiser of the AustralAsian Cleantech Forums, and the leading advocate of Cleantech in Australia.


I’m currently reading Clive Hamilton’s new book “Scorcher – the dirty politics of climate change”. And its a real eye opener on what’s happening in Australian Politics particularly over the last 10 years of the Howard government. We all know how the Australian Government has really dragged its heals regarding action on climate change and the rhetoric about our economy suffering etc. If you want some real facts and figures to back up that stifled frustration and clear up those ‘muddied waters’ its a recommended read.

So how do we all feel when it comes to what energy sources we should turn to in the coming years. CSIRO commissioned a study to look at public opinion in detail. The report found that “there is high public demand for information about new energy technologies and declining tolerance for advocacy of a single solution.” Expand the link below for the rest of the article.

The following is reproduced from the CSIRO website:

The results of one of the most detailed research projects undertaken into public perceptions of new power generation technologies and how they contribute to global warming, were released at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies in Brisbane today by the Minister for State Development, the Hon John Mickel MP.

26 April 2007

The project found there is high public demand for information about new energy technologies and declining tolerance for advocacy of a single solution.

Conducted by CSIRO for the Centre for Low Emission Technology (cLET), the research also indicated that while 88 – 89 per cent of respondents preferred solar power, after being apprised of some of the problems associated with generating and storing solar, they were willing to consider a range of alternatives.

Public opinion about nuclear power was polarised, with the degree of uncertainty about the technology varying between different regions.

“The results provide significant information for policy makers and energy technologists working on climate change responses.”

There was also a general lack of awareness about what is actually being done to address climate change – including development of low-emission and gas technologies. However, once respondents were included in discussions about subjects such as carbon capture and storage, they were likely to be more positive towards the technology.

cLET Chief Executive, Dr Kelly Thambimuthu (also Chair of the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D program), said the project’s aim was to better understand public perceptions of low-emission technologies and to explore any regional differences.

“The research and information provided to focus groups was guided by an advisory panel that included representatives from cLET, CSIRO, government researchers, industry and the environment movement,” Dr Thambimuthu said.

“The results provide significant information for policy makers and energy technologists working on climate change responses.”

The project was conducted in Queensland and New South Wales over the past two years.

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