Friday 30th September 2016                 Change text size:

Poll: over a quarter of Brits don’t believe climate change is a serious problem



uk power plant by sheffield star via Flickr

A new survey has revealed that China’s population is most likely to support strong action on climate change, while the US and Britain are at the bottom of the list. The findings suggest that over a quarter of Brits think climate change is not a serious problem.

The poll has been conducted ahead of country representatives meeting in Paris in December. At the UN meeting, it is hoped that an international treaty on climate change can be agreed that will limit global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The YouGov poll surveyed the public in 15 countries, including the UK, US and China, to assess the support for climate change action.

Survey participants were asked how serious a problem they considered climate change to be. Some 26% of Brits and 32% of people from the US described it as “not very serious”. In comparison just 4% of Chinese respondents took this view.

These views are reflected in the action the public wants their government to take. In China 60% favour the government taking a leadership role and setting ambitious targets to reduce climate change. In Britain and the US this figure falls to 41% and 44% respectively. Americans are also the most likely to want no involvement in an international climate change agreement, at 17%.

Despite this, across all the countries surveyed, a clear majority want their government to either take a leadership role or a moderate approach to the climate talks. Only a small minority want to see no agreement made.

YouGov notes, “While it will be politicians that ultimately define the course of the negotiations this December, the vast majority of the public surveyed, in both developed and developing countries, want a deal. Moreover, in almost all of the countries surveyed, the most popular strategy is for government to take leadership roles at the Paris talks by setting ambitious targets.”

The organisation adds, “Despite some lingering doubts, particularly in the US, a failure to reach an agreement in Paris would likely be met with disappointment throughout much of the world.”

Photo: sheffield star via Flickr

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Further reading:

Earth Day: public urged to take climate action

Majority of public unaware of scientific climate consensus

UK set to offer climate expertise to developing countries

Study: rich nations could affordably give $2tn to tackle climate change in developing countries

Poll says US public want action on climate change and more renewables


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