Two-thirds of UK public support restricting air travel to tackle climate change

18th September 2019


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Steven Beane

Two-thirds of the UK public support limiting air travel in order to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change, a YouGov poll of over 2,000 people has uncovered.

Less than a quarter of the respondents said air travel should not be restricted, while more than three in five insisted that climate change mitigation requires a “high“ or “extremely high“ level of urgency.

The survey also found that just over half the UK public believe that people should reduce meat in their diets to tackle climate change, compared with a third that do not.

The research was commissioned by Cardiff University's Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation (CAST), which was praised by activist Greta Thunberg in a recorded message at its launch today.

“Our findings make clear that most people feel climate change is an urgent issue, and are willing to make significant changes to their own lifestyles to help tackle it,“ CAST director, professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, said.

“Changing travel and food habits are among the most impactful thing individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint – it's very encouraging that there's support among the public for making these changes.“

Moreover, the findings show that 61% of people support the UK parliament's decision to declare a 'climate emergency', with just 11% opposing the announcement.

This comes after a separate survey of over 1,000 Britons recently found that 85% are concerned about climate change, with 52% describing themselves as “very concerned“.

These were the highest levels recorded by Ipsos MORI since it started tracking the concern in 2005, and the first time that a majority registered as very concerned.

The polling also found that 55% of adults think that the UK should achieve net zero emissions before the 2050 target announced by the government earlier this year.

Ipsos MORI's head of energy and environment research, Antonia Dickman, said that the recent school climate strikes and Extinction Rebellion could be partly responsible for the findings.

“Public opinion is rebuilding in strength, and the record summer temperatures across the UK might also be contributing to an increasing sense that our country is already feeling the effects of climate change,“ she added.

Image credit: ©iStock

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