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« Inconsolable - Josh 208 | Main | The ethics of global warming policy »
Thursday
Mar072013

Energy opinion

Readers might like to take part in a survey of opinion on the subject of energy futures run by an undergraduate student at the School of Built Environment at Heriot-Watt university. It comes to me via Eddie Owens, the lecturer who invited me to speak there a year or so ago.

The survey is quite short, so should only take a few minutes of your time.

See it here.

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Reader Comments (27)

As the last question was about climate change, I wonder if the answer to that question will taint the responses to the energy questions.

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Didn't take long to do. Like Phillip, I wonder if the last question was the money shot...

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

I did the survey, not sure it was useful.

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

They'll discount mine as I don't have a degree. Or they'll lump me in with 'deniers' who are too thick to have an opinion. Either way I don't give a .... as they'll march on to their own tune until reality cannot be avoided.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Registered CommenterGrumpyDenier

I put 5 for the climate change question but added a comment that I assumed he meant 'man-made global warming' and that I am very concerned about a different kind of climate change - global cooling -especially at a time when we are actually reducing our energy supply capabilities.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterstanj

I'm puzzled by the thesis of the questionnaire which seems to directly correlate and connect "climate change" (which does change) with "energy policy". (I also wonder how on Item No 1. we can either agree or disagree... it's a question. Are we to guess what the assertion is?)

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Done.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

stanj

Same here, but also added that we should be concerned about the immensely powerful natural climate changes/variations with the ability to move this planet from interglacial to ice age and subsequently return it to an interglacial, that is "climate change".

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Done - I agree that the last question appeared to be angled toward true believers.
We have many wind "farms" here in Mid Wales which through the winter are often motionless so producing no electricity. There is, perhaps not coincidentally, more flooding and erosion downstream as the hills, mainly bog or peat bog, are drained to accommodate this industrialization of historical sites - this is, after all, Glyndwr country, and a major water source (Rivers Severn and Wye amongst many smaller watercourses) and is hated by the left wing politicians' in South Wales.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEugene S Conlin

Coldoldman @ 3:03pm

"They'll discount mine as I don't have a degree. "

Why?

Remember how wrong the many of the degree-possessing "97% of climate experts" have been in alleging humans are causing global warming.

Some say that possession of a Degree simply reflects an individual's ability to pass exams.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I suggested changing the second second question to 'Wind energy can both reliably and cost effectively provide over 20% of the UK's electricity generation', since I'm sure it could be achieved if cost was no objection... as could most things people dream about (e.g. I want to live on the Moon :-)

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Phillip Bratby
The last question won’t taint the others; the only possible use can be to cross-analyse it with the others. Presumably the researcher is picking up people with different opinions at other sites, otherwise it’s a waste of time. There was no question on geographical location, which seems to me a mistake, otherwise it seemed ok. The questions were well-worded and there was a “don’t know” option, which there wasn’t on Lewandowsky’s.

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Last question is a fine example of poor survey design, to the extent that the aggregated answers will be meaningless. The student should read "Survey Methods in Social Investigation", by Claus Moser, or any other more recent textbook, before doing any more work in this area..

Tony.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ratliffe

Don't analyse it, just answer the questions. The last one isn't difficult, it doesn't require anybody to believe in change or not, it simply wants to know how worried you are about it. In my case, not much. Or not at all, unless the ice age returns, but even then the glaciers turn back when they get to Milton Keynes. Not surprising really if you know the road system there.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

It occurs to me that somebody of my age has about a 3% chance of having a degree but some person cursed with youth has ten times as much. Should have had an age question, that would be an amusing filter.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

For rhoda -
Age - tick one:
1) too young to know better
2) old enough to know better but still hopeful of political sanity
3) given up on rational policy-making

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Done for what it's worth. Mentioned Gordon Hughes' analysis and the 'troughers'.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

I wished him good luck but cautioned against rocking the boat - toe the line, I said, until you get your degree, then get some good site experience and join an organisation that offers well paid employment overseas.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Done. In the comment section I mentioned that he really needed to screen for knowledge of renewables, otherwise his results will real traction. For example, he could have asked a question about how much electricity is generated on an annual basis from wind as a % of capacity. Answer varies from 17 to 30% depending on country.

Mar 7, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

I commented that electricity generation is about more than just coal & "renewables" and energy policy is about more than just electricity generation.

Mar 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I asked my perennial question, about anti-cyclonic weather, in winter and at slack water when there's been no rain for several weeks.

Mar 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I completed the survey. The last question is unclear.

What is the "concern":
- very concerned that climate is changing? No. That's what climate does
-very concerned that the wrong path is being followed by Government. Definitely.
- very concerned that humans are changing the climate (compared with other, natural, drivers? Not really.
- very concerned that politics is driving the agenda? Definitely.

It is always difficult to phrase a question like this so I hope it is NOT the crunch question.

I wished him well!

Mar 7, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

"I'm puzzled by the thesis of the questionnaire "

That may not be a bad thing. Knowing the purpose of a survey may bias your responses. On the other hand, conducting a survey on the internet with no control over who is responding is perhaps more of a problem. When I was at the same university, we were put out on the street to conduct surveys. And we had to follow a strict method of selecting who to ask. e.g. after completing one questionnaire, select the next person to walk past a marker about 20 yards up the road as the next candidate (and not the first pretty girl to walk past that marker). Students of the Brewing Department were required to stay sober.

At least we got to meet people.

Mar 7, 2013 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSelgovae

I commented that the fact that the survey even existed saddend me greatly. Total GIGO fodder....

Mar 8, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMD

I thought the categories of degree were rather crude - Science, Engineering or Non-Technical.

Many degrees (archaeology, for instance) have significant science components - some of which are fundamental to the palaeoclimate debate - but are often issued as BAs rather than B.Scs, and therefore presumably 'non-technical' as far as this survey is concerned.

Also, one might have taken a very relevant subject - geology, for example - as a subsidiary, yet still be deemed to have a 'non-technical' training.

Mar 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

One of the questions included a phrase like "to ...ensure against power cuts".
Did the author mean "insure against", or perhaps "ensure security against"?
This sort of thing undermines the credibility of the survey.
A little scrutiny by peers, prior to going live, would have been very useful.

Mar 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Berber

In NZ we have a level between "No Degree" and "Honours Degree" called "Bachelor's degree", I thought the UK did, too? Or is it just England?
Also, what if I have a technical post-graduate or professional qualification, why not ask about that? Why not ask if one has majored or minored in technical areas, or work in technical fields? There are so many surveys that arrive that have a good quality set of questions to elicite the responant's education levels. This is poor quality.

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

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