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Welcome to Week 4

Watch the video as Dr Karen Parkhill introduces the fourth and final week of the MOOC.
Welcome to week 4 of our course, “Energy and Society”. Do you like wind farms? Should we have more nuclear power? What about coal, oil and gas - is it time to move away from these sources of energy? This week we are going to focus on what people think about different energy sources and investigate answers to these questions and more, to think through how we can achieve transitioning to a lower carbon society. We will begin by outlining the importance of energy to our everyday lives. Then, we will explore the reasons why many societies are talking about changing their energy systems including environmental issues, the need for system renewal and concerns about how we can access energy (including cost).
After this we will look at public attitudes to different energy sources and ways that we supply energy, including low carbon forms of energy, such as nuclear power, wind power, solar energy, and wave power) as well as fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. After looking at these “national attitudes” we will then focus on some case studies about how people living close to existing and proposed energy developments feel about these sources. This will include debunking the term NIMBY - which stands for Not In My Backyard - which is often used to explain the gap between general positive attitudes to renewable energy but vociferous local contestation about specific developments.
Up to this point, our focus will generally be on the Global North - particularly the UK and Europe, but in the last part of this week, we will shift attention to the Global South and consider energy issues in developing countries including energy resilience and difficulties with accessing energy. We’ll end this week by briefly outlining attitudes towards new technologies covered under the umbrella term of climate engineering (otherwise known as geoengineering), and how these new technologies may encourage or disrupt low carbon transitions. Throughout this week you will be introduced to,
and have specialist terms explained to you including: low carbon transitions, NIMBYism, energy security, energy resilience and climate engineering. You will also be encouraged to critically examine your own attitudes to energy and sketch out what you think our society should look like in 2050!

Welcome to Week 4! Dr Karen Parkhill introduces the fourth and final week of the MOOC, and asks: what needs to change in terms of our energy sources?

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