Majority of UK public say oil and gas firms should pay for extreme weather

20th August 2018

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Almost three-quarters of UK adults think fossil fuel companies should be made to pay damages for their role in contributing to global warming, a YouGov survey has found.

The research also reveals that eight in ten believe oil and gas firms that oppose action to mitigate global warming should be held responsible if they are aware of the dangers.

Nearly two-thirds said investing in these companies would be risky in the long-term, while more than half don’t think they can be trusted to change their business models.

“The litigation risk for fossil fuel companies and those who invest in them is likely to grow and investors should take note,” said James Thornton, CEO at ClientEarth, which commissioned the research.

“The costs of defending actions on climate change are likely to be substantial and the damages involved, should a company be required to pay, could be enormous.”

After questioning 2005 adults, the survey also found that almost two-thirds don’t think the government is doing enough to adapt to climate change or limit temperature increases.

Almost three-quarters would be interested in joining a community energy scheme if the government made it easier, with most in favour of dismantling the ‘big six’s’ dominance of the market.

Moreover, around 62% would be keen on installing their own solar panels, and three-fifths would be interested in a financial institution that considers the impact of climate change when investing.

This comes after separate research found that the UK is the fourth worse-performing G7 country for ending its support for the fossil fuel industry, denying it provides subsidies, while also committing to end them at the same time.

“The government can take the lead on climate quickly by cutting off the hundreds of millions of pounds in annual subsidies to fossil fuel power stations,” Thornton continued.

“Making people’s homes more energy efficient is also a key way of tackling overall emissions and this poll shows that there is strong public support for doing so – the government has no excuse for dragging its feet on this.”

Image credit: iStock


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