Climate action

Covid sheds light on the climate crisis, with almost a third of Brits more worried about climate change than last year

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 18 January 2021

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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A recent survey commissioned by The Climate Coalition whose members include the RSPB, WWF, National Trust, Oxfam and Women’s Institute found that two-thirds (65%) of adults in the UK believe the British Government should do more to combat climate change, up from just over half (57%) in 2017.

The findings come less than 10 months before the UK hosts the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, where global leaders will come together to decide the future of our planet.

‘2020 was the joint hottest year on record, with extreme weather events wreaking havoc across the world. A climate crisis cannot be tackled with targets alone, these need to be turned into action. The government has support from the British public, we now need them to supercharge their actions and influence the rest of the world ahead of hosting the UN Climate Summit in November.’

CLARA GOLDSMITH
Campaigns director at The Climate Coalition

Our life support system

Public support for tackling climate change is high; almost a third of Britons (29%) admit to feeling more worried about climate change now than they were a year ago, compared with 15% who feel less worried.

Only 17% of respondents now consider climate change to be an issue of low importance, while 47% said it was of high importance.

The British Government has vowed to lead the way, setting out its own target to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, and promising a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a score card produced by members of The Climate Coalition, the British government is only taking strong enough action in one area out of 10.

‘The pandemic has shown us the importance of nature to people, the economy and the planet – and the devastating impacts if we choose to ignore it. The natural world is our life support system, and it’s also one of our strongest defences against climate change. It is worth fighting for.

‘This poll shows that people across the UK want more action on climate change. The UK Government can show real leadership at the climate summit later this year. Our leaders have taken steps in the right direction, but must go further with both action and investment if we are to protect our planet for future generations.’

TANYA STEELE
CEO of WWF UK

We want to see leadership

More than two in five people (44%) said the UK is not currently doing enough to tackle climate change domestically.

The poll found that three in five adults (60%) agree it is important for the UK to be a global leader on climate while half (51%) agreed that it should be doing more to show global leadership on this issue.

There was a high degree of support for international cooperation, with three-quarters of respondents (75%) saying they believe it’s important that nations agree a plan to limit global warming to safe levels this year.

‘The majority of people in the UK expect our government to be doing more to combat the climate emergency. Globally, we’re already seeing the devastating impact of climate change on lives, homes and jobs, especially for the poorest people who have the least defences. This year, people in the UK want to see the government doing everything it can to work with others to secure an ambitious deal that cuts global emissions and ramps up support for poorer communities.’

DANNY SRISKANDARAJAH
Chief Executive of Oxfam GB
 

A green industrial revolution

Five years ago under the Paris Agreement, most nations signed up to a plan of action to limit the rise in average global temperature to well below 2C, and to pursue efforts to stay below 1.5C.

This year governments are required to set out targets to reduce their carbon emissions over the next decade.

‘We are at a turning point. Tackling climate change is the best chance we have to build a stronger economy long term. And future generations will not thank us if we leave their communities, the green spaces they treasure and the wildlife that lives there vulnerable to increasingly extreme climate impacts. By investing in nature and in a green industrial revolution, we can build a cleaner, fairer world that tackles the causes and impacts of climate change.’

HILARY MCGRADY
Director-general of the National Trust

The Climate Coalition is encouraging the UK public to sign its Declaration for a cleaner, greener fairer future for us all. Click here for more.

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