We're all freaking out about climate breakdown

| 22nd August 2019
73 percent of people thought the impacts of rising global temperatures were already being felt.

The record summer temperatures across the UK might also be contributing to an increasing sense among the public that our country is already feeling the effects of climate change.

Almost three-quarters of people think the UK is already feeling the effects of climate change, according to a poll which comes after the country sweltered in record heat.

The survey by Ipsos MORI found 73 percent of people thought the impacts of rising global temperatures were already being felt in this country, compared to just over two-fifths (41 percent) in 2010. Concern about climate change has also hit record highs, the poll found.

Some 85 percent of those quizzed now say they are concerned about climate change, with more than half (52 percent) admitting to being very concerned - the highest levels Ipsos MORI has seen since it started polling on the issue in 2005.

Greenhouse

Back then, 82 percent of people were concerned about climate change, a figure which declined to 60% in 2013, before rising to the current highs.

The polling comes after the UK saw temperatures soar to new record highs before extreme rain and flooding hit parts of the country. The pollster interviewed more than 1,000 adults in the last week of July.

Of those quizzed, one in four said the recent hot weather was mainly caused by climate change driven by human activity such as burning fossil fuels, while 57 percent said it was down to a mixture of human activity and natural weather patterns. Just 15 percent blamed natural weather for the sweltering conditions.

Just over half of those polled said the UK should cut greenhouse gases to net zero more quickly than the Government's 2050 target to help tackle the problem.

Opinion

Antonia Dickman, head of energy and environment research at Ipsos MORI, said: "In 2005/6 we saw a peak in concern about the environment, reflecting the prominence of media reporting around, for example, Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, the Kyoto Protocol coming into effect and the Stern Report.

"But climate fatigue appeared to set in, particularly in the aftermath of the economic crash when it struggled to compete for public consciousness.

"Recently, though, concern has been creeping up again and after events such as Extinction Rebellion, the school strikes for climate and the climate emergencies being declared by local authorities, this latest poll shows the highest levels of public concern for climate change that Ipsos MORI has recorded in the last 15 years.

"The number of people saying they feel 'very' concerned is a sign that public opinion is rebuilding in strength and the record summer temperatures across the UK might also be contributing to an increasing sense among the public that our country is already feeling the effects of climate change. "

This Author

Emily Beament is the PA environment correspondent.

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