Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Bogus European Opinion Poll

I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but there's another public opinion poll getting some play today that probably doesn't reflect the reality on the ground when it comes to public opinion in Europe about nuclear energy:

European citizens want their governments to focus on developing solar and wind power and are less enthusiastic about nuclear energy, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The Eurobarometer poll showed 12 percent of those surveyed favoured developing the use of nuclear energy, while 48 percent supported solar and 31 percent backed wind power development.

(snip)

The survey, covering almost 30,000 people, was carried out in the 25 EU member countries as well as acceding and candidate states from Oct. 11 to Nov. 15 last year.

All this story really needs is a brief sentence explaining that the poll results might have been different had it been taken after the record cold snap that struck the continent simultaneously with a natural gas supply crisis. I'm not surprised they didn't bother. Click here and here for some previous examples.

Meanwhile, the U.K. has started its long-awaited energy policy review.

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1 comment:

Jim Hopf said...

The problem with this poll is the nature of the questions being asked. I'm tired of hearing about people's answers to irrelevant questions like "given a choice, would you like to have all your energy come from solar, wind, or nuclear".

Allow me to translate the real question being implied by the above wording. "Given a choice, would you like to have most or all of your energy be delivered, at the same cost and same reliability, by renewables instead of nuclear." Hell, even I would answer yes to that question, and I'm as pro-nuclear as they come.

As an encore, why didn't they list, next to solar and wind, the equally realistic option of having all your power magically come out of the wall, absolutely free!! Would you prefer that option? I know I would!

They list nuclear as the least popular. Compared to what? Only renewables? Where is the comparison (in popularity) to conventional coal? To gas imported from Russia? Since all experts know that renewables will provide at most ~15-20% of overall supply for the foreseeable future, these are the real alternative options to nuclear.

Thus, a real poll, that asks questions that are actually meaningful, would read as follows:

Question 1:

For the forseeable future, the majority (over 80%) of our electricifty will be coming from traditional sources. Of the three primary (real) energy supply options listed below, which would you prefer:

a) Coal. (Note: Will require blowing off CO2 emissions reductions, as well as continuing to accept thousands of annual pollution related deaths).

b) Gas imported from Russia or the Middle East.

c) Nuclear.


Question 2:

It may be possible to increase renewables share somewhat from the ~15-20% share listed above, but this will require a significant increase in electricity prices (due to the intermittant nature of renewables).

How much more would you be willing to pay for power in order to increase renewables share by an additional 10%? An additional 20%?

These are meaningful questions; the REAL questions that people need to answer. Poll results based on meaningless, irrelevant questions need to ignored, and prevented in the future. Why aren't the organizations conducting these "polls" being confronted on this?