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Public concern over climate crisis is at 30-year high

Public concern over the climate crisis is at a 30-year high, according to the latest Ipsos MORI issues index. 

The poll, which involved 1,013 people revealed that nearly a third (32%) said climate change, the environment and pollution were a major issue for Britain, putting it second only to the pandemic.

This is the second-highest level of concern recorded for the environment since it was added as an option in 1988. Public concern was only higher in July 1989 when the highest temperature since 1976 was recorded at Heathrow.

Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos MORI, said: ‘Public concern about the environment has reached a historically high level this month, with the publication of the new IPCC report and reports of fires and flooding around the world.

‘But this jump in concern is built on a steady rise in the level of worry on this topic which has been building since around 2015.

‘We also see public worry about Covid-19 dropping again to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic – but it remains seen as the number one issue facing Britain for the public.’

person holding there is no planet b poster

Director of campaigning impact at Friends of the Earth, Jamie Peters, added: ‘Each new, increasingly alarming report on climate chaos is a bit like Groundhog Day. Warnings from leading global scientists must be heeded and this new polling shows that people care and are concerned. Climate change is here, it’s happening now with devastating impact and it’s going to intensify. We need to act urgently, and fairly.

‘There was a point last year where you could be comfortable wearing a t-shirt in the Antarctic. What will it take for governments to do what’s needed right now to get planetary warming under control? Even now the UK Government fails to cancel new oil fields and coal mines, keeps funding overseas gas projects, and backs new roads and runways. This is a betrayal of what the science says we need to do, and how the UK public want us to respond as a country.’

Photo by Li-An Lim

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