By Shiva Singh | Contributor
In a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI in partnership with Cardiff University Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations, it was found that only a minority of British people think the UK government has a clear plan to tackle climate change.
According to this survey, only three in 10 Britons (28%) agree the government has a clear plan for how it can work with business and the general public to tackle climate change.
This poll was conducted to mark Earth Day 2021 and included 1000 adults in the survey. It asked to what extent people agreed with the statement that the UK government has a clear plan for how the government, businesses and people are going to work together to tackle climate change. 28% agreed with the statement, while 33% disagreed.
Furthermore, 69% said that the government would be failing the people of Britain if it does not act now to combat climate change, with only 10% of people disagreeing with this statement, highlighting the importance of climate change to the general public.
Other important findings from the survey include: 74% said businesses must act now to avoid failing their customers and employers, and 73% said individuals would be failing future generations if they do not act now to combat climate change. On economic recovery from COVID-19, opinion was split; around a third (35%) agreed the government should not prioritise tackling climate change, while a similar proportion disagreed (38%).
This survey becomes more important in the view that the government recently announced its intentions to speed up restrictions in carbon emissions by 78%, by the year 2035.
According to a statement given by Professor Whitmarsh, Director of CAST and an environment psychologist, at the University of Bath: “These new survey findings highlight that the COVID-19 pandemic has not dented public concern about climate change, and that there is a strong belief that responsibility for tackling climate change is shared by everyone in society.”
The survey also suggested that Britons want to continue with certain habits learned during the pandemic as 36%agreed that they are most likely to do what they can to avoid throwing away food more often and 32% agreed that they would buy things that they really need rather than shopping for fun. If this comes to fruition this could change the highstreet by redefining people’s shopping habits.
A large majority of Britons say they understand what action they need to take to play their part in the fight against climate change (71%). Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Public Affairs, reflected on this finding: “Although many Britons say they understand what actions they need to take to tackle climate change, they tend to focus on lower impact actions rather than more significant lifestyle changes.
“Nevertheless, there is a willingness to change certain behaviours that will make a difference, and the strong sense of responsibility individuals feel they have – along with business – to combat climate change suggests they will be receptive to government steps to reduce the UK’s greenhouse emissions.”
It is not clear what the outcome of this survey will be but it highlights the importance of climate change to the general public and the need for clearer communication about plans to tackle this problem.