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Carbon reduction scenarios for 2050: An explorative analysis of public preferences

Allen, Patricia; Chatterton, Tim


Patricia Allen


This paper presents an analysis of public preferences for a low carbon future UK and compares them with three future scenarios proposed by the UK government based on data from 10,983 self-selected participants who engaged in the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change 'My2050' online simulation. Participants expressed a stronger preference for demand-side options than for supply-side ones. They also chose fuel switching (to electricity) and technical energy efficiency measures above more behaviour focused options. Renewable energy options (wind, solar, marine and hydro) were preferred to other low carbon supply options (nuclear power, carbon capture and storage), with offshore wind power more popular than onshore. Nuclear power was the least popular generation option. Acceptability of the government's three proposed scenarios was tested by comparing these scenarios with the research findings. Greatest support was suggested for the two scenarios emphasising business greenness, home energy efficiency, electrification of home heating and travel behaviour. The lowest level of support was demonstrated for the scenario based on significant growth in nuclear power with minimal increases in energy efficiency. Despite issues regarding the representivity of the sampled respondents, the work demonstrates the possibility of using outputs from the tool to assess publically preferred pathways. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2013
Journal Energy Policy
Print ISSN 0301-4215
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 63
Pages 796-808
APA6 Citation Allen, P., & Chatterton, T. (2013). Carbon reduction scenarios for 2050: An explorative analysis of public preferences. Energy Policy, 63, 796-808.
Keywords public engagement, energy scenarios, 2050 calculator, climate policy
Publisher URL


Allen and Chatterton my2050 paper (Version for resubmission 190713).docx (1.3 Mb)

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