Concern over environment hits 30-year high
The UK public is the more concerned about the environment than it has been for the last 30 years.
The Ipsos MORI findings show that 32% of adults see the environment and climate change as a big issue, making it the second-biggest concern after COVID-19. The last time concern was greater was in July 1989, when the highest temperature since 1976 was recorded at Heathrow and 35% mentioned the environment as a worry.
Perhaps surprisingly, the poll of 1,000 adults found that older people were more likely to mention the environment as a concern, with 38% of the over-55s saying it is a big issue, compared with 24% of 18-34 year-olds. However, there was little political split, with supporters of the Conservative and Labour parties – and those who support no party – similarly likely to mention it as a concern, on 30%, 33% and 28%, respectively.
The research was conducted in the week that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that human activity has driven unprecedented changes to the climate, and that global temperatures are set to hit 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels during the next 20 years – a decade earlier than expected.
Public concern about the environment has reached a “historically high level”, said Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos MORI. “But this jump in concern is built on a steady rise in the level of worry on this topic, which has been building since around 2015.”
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