Concerns over climate change have doubled amongst UK adults since 2016, finds survey

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5th March 2020 14:00 - Utilities

Concerns over climate change have doubled amongst UK adults since 2016: A survey has revealed that concerns over climate change have doubled amongst UK adults since 2016, with the number who are now ‘very’ or ‘extremely worried’ increasing from 19% (2016) to 40% in the latest survey (2019).

Almost a quarter (23%) of the 1,401 UK adults who were polled in the Cardiff University survey placed climate change as the most important issue facing the UK over the next 20 years - only topped by Brexit, with 25% saying it was their primary concern. Ranking in third was the 'economic situation' with 10% citing it as most important. 

The piece of research, in collaboration with Climate Outreach, compares present day attitudes to those of previous years (2010, 2013 and 2016) when similar studies were carried out. In 2016, the top concern cited by respondents was immigration, with climate change way down the table in 13th position. The previous survey also found that just 2% of respondents chose climate change as their ‘top issue’. 

The research asked respondents if they felt they were feeling the effects of climate change today, with almost two-thirds (64%) saying 'yes' - compared to 40% a decade ago (2010 survey). The study also revealed that today, Brits are in support of policies to ensure the UK adapts to cope with future climate change issues, such as improving the nation's flood defences. 

When asked about ways the UK can reduce carbon emissions, subsidising renewable energy and improving public transport were the most popular answers given. Almost half the respondents polled were opposed to increasing the cost of energy in order to reduce consumption, according to the survey. 

The majority of survey participants were also in support of the Government's commitment to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 (76%), with just 6% in opposition. Two-thirds said that they agreed with penalties for countries who refuse to be part of the Paris Agreement for tackling climate change, with three quarters saying they are in support of the landmark programme. 

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