UK public remains supportive of climate action, but cost fears rising

13th March 2024


The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

After surveying 4,000 adults, the researchers found that 84% agreed that we can reduce the effects of climate change “if everyone does their bit”, with 55% agreeing strongly, and just 7% disagreeing.

A whopping 98% said that they did at least one thing to reduce their impact, with recycling the most common behaviour on 85%, followed by minimising energy use on 80% and cutting food waste on 77%, while 49% choose to walk or cycle instead of using a car.

However, the poll also found that 69% expect the transition to net zero to increase their living expenses over the next one to two years, with only 7% expecting a decrease.

And despite many studies indicating the transition to be beneficial for the UK economy, 37% expect the impact to be negative in the short term, compared with 21% who anticipate a positive effect, and 19% not expecting any change.

In contrast, 52% expect the long-term impact in 10 years or more to be positive, with just 18% thinking it will be negative.

The researchers said, however, that there was a “relatively high degree of uncertainty”, with around two in 10 saying they did not know what the economic impact would be in the short term and long term.

The survey also found that 80% of respondents were at least “fairly concerned” about climate change, although this is down from the 85% recorded in Autumn 2021.

Between the summer and winter of last year, the proportion who were “very concerned” about climate change fell from 40% to 37%

TV and radio documentaries and TV news were trusted more than newspapers to provide accurate information about climate change, on 71%, 63% and 40%, respectively, although how strongly people trusted them remained fairly weak for all three media sources.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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