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Climate change: British people are concerned more about the crisis than Brexit or Covid, a poll shows.
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Climate change: British people are concerned more about the crisis than Brexit or Covid, a poll shows.


Ipsos MORI publishes its poll monthly,November’s was conducted over a week during COP26 climate conferences. The event took place in Glasgow, Scotland and was covered extensively by national media.

40% of those surveyed stated that climate change, pollution, and the environment were their top three concerns. With 27%, the pandemic was second and Brexit third with 22%. Ipsos MORI interviewed nearly 1,000 adults. They gave their answers spontaneously, and were not given any options.

Climate concern was 16 percent higher in November than October. This is because people were more concerned about Brexit, the pandemic, and the economy.

Was COP26 successful? Here's how climate summits make a difference
While there was a clear increase in interest at the COP26 conference there has been a long-term increase in climate concern over the past decade, as confirmed by other polls. including from YouGov.

According to the Ipsos MORI poll, there was a fairly balanced distribution of climate concerns across all age groups, genders, and political affiliations.

“[It’s]It is very encouraging that climate change has become a topic of concern for everyone, said Gabriela Jiga-Boy (a senior lecturer in psychology at University of Swansea). It suggests that Britain’s society is not very divided about climate change. This is important because we often exaggerate how divided people are in these times.

Climate is also a major concern of older people

The poll revealed that men and women considered climate change a top issue at almost equal levels, with 41% and 40%, respectively. The poll also showed that both the center-right Conservative Party (and the left-leaning Labour Party) were equally concerned about climate issues.

47% of respondents aged 55-plus said it was a top concern. It was 43% for the 35-54 age group. Only 27% of the 18-34 year olds said the same. However this age group was more likely to be concerned about any particular issue.

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Ralitsa hiteva, a senior research fellow at the University of Sussex Business School Science Policy Research Unit, stated that climate change is now a top concern for most groups as the topic has “become personal.” This is true also for how policies such as net-zero emission targets might affect them.

Dozens upon dozens of countries have set a mid-century net-zero emission goal. They plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “capture” excess emissions through actions like planting trees or using technology to extract carbon from fossil fuels. This technology isn’t fully developed and remains controversial.

Hiteva said in an email that she saw people being affected by both the target of net zero and the effects of climate change. “We are seeing that people feel the impact of these things, from large wildfires or the rapid rises of the price for energy,” Hiteva told CNN.

While there is a general concern about the climate crisis across all age groups, there is more support for different forms of climate action.

She said that older people are more likely to invest in infrastructure to improve future generations’ experience, while those between 18 and 25 are significantly less likely to pay more for improvements they won’t experience in their lifetime.

“This momentum must be used to engage people in re-imagining how infrastructure investment can work in an innovative way that is not only more inclusive and fair for the environment, but also more inclusive and fair.”


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