Smart Transport

Climate change – more awareness but less concern

Climate change graffito

More than three quarters of the population believe climate change is already having an impact in the UK according to a Government survey, but people seem less concerned about those impacts than a year ago.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Public Attitudes, 78% of the population believe climate change is already affecting people in the UK as a whole – up from 73% in March 2019.

The BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker survey was conducted before the Covid-19 lockdown – but against a backdrop of increasing concern over the impact of the pandemic.

The survey report says: “It is unclear what effect the COVID-19 outbreak and associated media coverage during fieldwork may have had on public behaviours, attitudes and perceptions towards the topics in this report.”

The survey also found that:

  • A quarter (76%) of people said they were either very concerned (35%) or fairly concerned (41%) about climate change – a fall from the peak of 80% in March 2019.
  • Among all people except the 2% who don’t believe in climate change, 25% think people in the UK are currently being affected a great deal by climate change (Figure 1), an increase from 14% in March 2019).
  • Almost half of the public (47%) said that climate change is either entirely (17%) or mainly (30%) caused by human activity, remaining at its highest point since the question was first asked.
  • Levels of support for renewable energy remained stable at 82%. Levels of support have remained between 74% and 85% since the question was first asked in March 2012.

Most people continued to support each of the renewable energy sources included in the tracker in March 2020: solar (86%); off-shore wind (81%); wave and tidal (80%); on-shore wind (77%); and biomass (68%).

A new question was added to the survey in March 2020 to understand the public’s awareness of the concept of “Net Zero”. The proportion of people who had any awareness of “Net Zero” was 35%.

Full survey results are available on the BEIS website.

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