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News & Events - 2011

Science Cafe -BBC Radio Wales
Adam Walton chairs a Climate Change Question Time at Bangor University, Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh sits on the panel. To listen again click here.


Academic Visit - Professor Terre Satterfield
Terre Satterfield, Director of the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability; and Professor of risk, culture and environment at UBC Vancouver is visiting the Understanding Risk Group.

During her visit she will present a seminar entitled "Culture, Intangibles and Metrics in Environmental Management"

Time: 2pm-3:30pm Monday 24th October. Place: Seminar Room, Ground Floor, 51a Park Place.

The talk brings together her longstanding ideas about cultural values, and new work on how to 'measure' nonmaterial aspects of cultural life that matter to environmental management, also bringing in earlier narrative work as applied to recent cases, including the Enbridge pipeline dispute across North America.


Nature Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology and Deliberative Work featured in October's issue of Nature Nanotechnology available here.


Book Review
Normal Accidents
As Japan strives to overcome the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Nick Pidgeon reflects on Charles Perrow's classic book about why complex technologies fail. To read the article click here.


New Survey Results on UK Attitudes to Nuclear Power
To read the article click here.


Government Office for Science
International Dimensions of Climate Change
To read the Final Project Repot click here.


Giant Pipe and Balloon to Pump Water into the Sky in Climate Experiment
Field test by British academics marks first step towards recreating an artificial volcano that would inject particles into the stratosphere and cool the planet. To read the full article click here.


Press Release
Members of the Public Deliberate Geoengineering
Press Statement from IAGP researchers at Cardiff University available here.


House of LordsHouse of Lords
Science & Technology Committee
Nuclear Research and Development Capabilities

Wednesday 6 July
Professor Nick Pidgeon in attendance


Royal Geographical Society with IBG 2011
Dr Catherine Butler presenting: Royal Geographical Society
Towards a whole system equity analysis of nuclear power. (31/08/11)
Living with Energy: Practice, Biography and the Lifecourse. (02/09/11)

Dr Karen Parkhill presenting:
Laughing it off? Humour, affect and emotion work in communities living
with nuclear risk. (31/08/11)
Reconfiguring and reconciling spatialities for a low carbon future: Public engagement with whole energy systems transitions. (01/09/11)

Professor Nick Pidgeon presenting:
The neutral zone? The politics of doing public participatory geoengineering workshops. (01/09/11)

31 August 2011 to 2 September 2011
At the RGS-IBG, London


Panel Discussion
7-8th July 2011
Dr Karen Parkhill takes part in a panel discussion at the Examining The Shared Life: Social Unity, Civic Health and Cultural Diversity Conference at the University of Leeds.


2nd One-Day Research Student Conference:
Human Behaviour and Climate Change
Following the success of the first Human Behaviour and Climate Change Conference at Cardiff in 2010 we invite PhD students from a range of disciplines working broadly in the area of human behaviour and climate change to join our 2011 event. To view conference details click here.



Nick Pidgeon presented a talk an Attitudes to Nuclear Power in Britain at a Foundation for Science and Technology meetng on 18 May 2011 on the implications of the Fukushima Accident.



Science Communication
From Icelandic volcanoes to GM crops and cancer cures to climate change, science is always in the news. But how much do we really understand about the science behind the dramatic headlines? Lorraine Whitmarsh discusses public perceptions of science and scientists on BBC Radio.


Changing Climates: Integrating Psychological Perspectives on Climate Change
The conference is part of the development of a new alliance, EnvironMentality, of professionals from across the psychological fields who will, amongst other things, apply psychologically-informed insight to denial, to the consumerist paradigm of wellbeing, and to barriers to understanding that long-term physical and psychological security lie in healthy functioning at a systemic, as well as an individual, level. Within PCSR there has been a longstanding interest in environmental issues and we are glad to be closely involved with the start of this alliance. Download workshop details here.
2nd July 2011
NCVO, London


The existing Thames flood-protection barrier at Greenwhich, East London, UKPress Release
Are we really communicating uncertain climate risks?
Pidgeon, N.P. & Fischoff, B. (2011). 'The role of social and decision sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks'. Nature Climate Change, April Vol 1, 35-41.



Press Release
Climate Change Hits Home
Members of the School's Understanding Risk Group have published the first evidence of a link between climate related impacts and public beliefs about climate change in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Spence, A., Poortinga, W., Butler, C., & Pidgeong, N.F. (2011). Perceptions of climate change and willingness to save energy related to flood experience. Nature Climate Change, 1, 46-49. [pdf]


Nick Pidgeon - Interview 'A Shift in Public Attitudes to Nuclear Power?'
Channel 4


Adrian Alsop, ESRC Key Priorities & future strategy at Bangor


Wouter Poortinga - "Japan: tragedy and danger"
One Planet (BBC World Service)


British Psychological Society Identity and Communication Seminar
5th April 2011
University of Exeter


Climate WeekClimate Week 21 to 27 March 2011
Climate Week is a national opportunity to renew ambitions and confidence to combat climate change. It will focus on many positive steps already being taken in workplaces and communities across Britain. Such practical examples – the small improvements and the big innovations – are aimed at inspiring millions more people to take action.


Risk Perception Seminar
16th March 2011

Professor Nick Pidgeon presenting:
Attitudes to Climate Change Risks and Local Experiences

Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh presenting:
Environmental Values, Scepticism and Climate Change

For further information view here


Panel Discussion
2nd March 2011
Professor Nick Pidgeon took part in a panel discussion on The Road to a Low Carbon Economy at the 2011 EcoBuild Conference at the London ExCel Conference Centre, chaired by the journalist Samira Ahmed and featuring also Sara Parkin, Michael Portillo, and Lucy Siegle


Renewable Energy and the PublicBook Release
Renewable Energy and the Public - Members of the Understanding Risk team have contributed a chapter to this new volume edited by Patrick Devine-Wright. Public acceptance is key to the development of the renewable energy we need to meet our climate goals. Simple stereotypes of NIMBY opposition may work in newspaper headlines, but developers and policymakers need a more sophisticated understanding of what makes people tick and how best to engage. This new volume meets a pressing need - both academics and practitioners will gain from it.


House of LordsHouse of Lords
Science & Technology Sub-Committee I
Behavioural Change
Tuesday 1 February
Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh in attendance



Engaging the Public with Climate ChangeBook Launch
Engaging the Public with Climate Change - Despite increasing public awareness of climate change, our behaviours relating to consumption and energy use remain largely unchanged. A new book by Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh and colleagues answers the urgent call for effective engagement methods to foster sustainable lifestyles, community action, and social change. Written by practitioners and academics, the chapters combine theoretical perspectives with case studies and practical guidance, examining what works and what doesn't, and providing transferable lessons for future engagement approaches.



Gordon DamNew Research Project
Exploring public attitudes to energy systems and scenarios. The Understanding Risk group along with colleagues at Cardiff have been awarded funding for a two-year project, which will investigate public perception of whole energy system transformation to inform the policy-making process and provide research evidence for future energy scenarios. Using three main work packages, the interdisciplinary research team will investigate where the public agrees or contests the underlying reasons for proposed change using in-depth qualitative and generalisable quantitative research methods. This research will focus on key dimensions or trade-offs in the energy system as well as relating it back to everyday life.


New Research Project
Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) is a new four year research project, that started on 1st October 2010 and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). IAGP brings together a broad range of expertise, from climate modelling to philosophy and engineering to public perceptions to conduct an objective, policy-relevant assessment of 'geoengineering' proposals - large scale technologies to control the global climate.

Co-oinciding with the latest global climate change talks (COP-16), Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh discusses 'Communicating Climate Change'


BPS Seminar Series on the Psychology of Sustainability
The Attitude-Behaviour Gap or Value-Action Gap. Does it exist and if so how do we deal with it?
27 January 2011
University of Surrey, UK