Widespread misconceptions about climate change among the British public

27th August 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional

Author

Sheila Banks

New research reveals that just one in nine people (11%) in Britain know there is a strong scientific consensus on man-made climate change and only 5% are aware that the vast majority of the public (80%) support renewables, such as solar and wind energy.

The findings form part of UK-wide energy and climate change survey of more than 2,000 British adults, commissioned by the independent Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and carried out by polling and research firm ComRes.

The survey was designed to test how well informed the British public is on energy and climate change issues. When asked about global climate change, 40% of respondents admitted that they were not well informed. Nearly half of those polled (47%) think most climate scientists reject the idea that human activities, such as fossil fuel burning, are the main driver of climate change, while a third believe that scientists are evenly split on the issue (35%).

“This survey shows that there’s a huge gap between reality and perception on some key climate and energy issues”, said Richard Black, director of the ECIU. “The breakdown between the views of scientists and the public on climate change is a particular concern. As a nation we can only make sensible choices if we’re properly informed, so it’s vital that people are aware of what the evidence is and that it’s communicated clearly.”

ECIU advisory board member Dr Emily Shuckburgh said: “The scientific evidence that man-made climate change is real and presents significant risks is incredibly robust. But that doesn't always come across to the public, as the ECIU survey shows. In my view it's vital that we bridge that gap, so that people are able to separate fact from fiction, enabling society as a whole to make informed decisions about our future."

ComRes interviewed 2,021 British adults online between 1 and 3 August.

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