Climate change a vote-winner for most UK adults

30th October 2019

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Alice Heynes

Climate change will influence the way that most UK adults vote in the upcoming general election, a survey for environmental lawyers ClientEarth has uncovered.

The findings show that climate change will influence how 54% of adults vote – rising to 74% among the under-25s – while 63% say it is now the “biggest issue facing humankind“.

It was also found that 58% believe that the government has not done enough to prepare for climate change, and that 61% want the 2050 target for net zero emissions to be more ambitious.

Moreover, 73% of the respondents said that they believe people are becoming much more fearful and anxious about climate change.

This comes after thousands of climate protesters brought parts of London to a standstill in recent weeks, with the latest findings suggesting they have been successful in raising awareness.

ClientEarth lawyer, Jonathan Church, said: “From the student strikes to Extinction Rebellion, people across the UK are demanding greater action to address the climate crisis.

Importantly these demands appear strong enough to make a difference at the next election, with more than half of adults saying that climate change will impact how they cast their vote.

It appears that the UK public is set to go to the polls on 12 December after MPs yesterday backed Boris Johnson's call for a general election.

The survey of 2,000 adults also found that 63% want the government to introduce a 'green new deal' with large-scale, long-term investment in green jobs and infrastructure.

A similar proportion want the government to do more to encourage a shift to electric and other low-emission vehicles, and for further action planting trees and reforesting land.

The public appears to want more action from local government too, with 81% of respondents saying that planting more trees should be among the top priorities for councils.

Seven in 10 said councils should set carbon reduction targets aligned with all planning decisions, while around 65% want more investment in footpaths, bike lanes and public transport.

“It's clear the public want to see more from the UK government: more ambition to achieve the goal of zero net emissions and more concrete action to stop current carbon reduction targets from going unmet, Church continued.

“The public also wants more action locally – investment in cleaner transport and more energy efficient homes – and they want councils to fulfil their legal obligation to make carbon reduction central in local planning decisions to truly green their communities.“

Image credit: ©iStock


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