Not much Cop28

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The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a Global Business Leaders Reception at Lancaster House pre COP27. 

Basically nobody in Britain believes world leaders will act on promises made at the most important conference in human history.

This lack of interest is coupled with a concerning lack of belief that Cop28, or indeed previous Cops, will lead to positive global action.

Just one per cent of the British public are certain that commitments made at Cop28 will result in climate action, a new poll reveals.

The PA (formally Press Association) exclusive research, conducted by Ipsos, saw more than 1,000 people surveyed on their opinions of upcoming the UN climate conference, which will be held in Dubai from Thursday, 30 November 2023. The results suggest that the vast majority of British public have little confidence in Cop28 and its outcomes. 

Asked whether they believe commitments made at Cop28 will result in action, just one per cent said it is certain to, followed by four per cent who said they believe it is very likely. Overall just 17 per cent of respondents gave a more optimistic answer to the question, compared to 47 per cent who believe action is unlikely.


The research also suggests little confidence that Britain would keep to any commitments agreed at Cop28, with just five per cent saying they are very optimistic. On average, 23 per cent gave an answer suggesting a degree of optimism compared to 38 per cent who responded pessimistically.

The figures are similar when it comes to whether people are confident that action taken from Cop28 commitments would have a real impact on climate change – with 28 per cent feeling confident compared to 55 per cent who do not.

Finally, just 19 per cent of respondents said they believe previous Cops have resulted in positive global action, compared to 34 per cent who do not. 

A similar picture could be seen in terms of Britons believing that commitments made at previous Cops have been implemented, with 17 per cent agreeing that they have, compared to 37 per cent who disagree.


It terms of engagement, only a third of respondents said they will follow the news around Cop28 closely (32 per cent) this year compared to 61 per cent who said they will not follow it closely. However, 53 per cent of survey respondents said they do follow stories about climate change in general.

Rachel Brisley, head of energy and environment at Ipsos Public Affairs, said: “While Cop28 provides a milestone opportunity for the world to take stock of progress on the Paris agreement to reduce emissions, only a third of the British public are likely to follow news about the event.

“This lack of interest is coupled with a concerning lack of belief that Cop28, or indeed previous Cops, will lead to positive global action.

“However, given that half of the public follow stories are following stories about climate change closely, there’s an opportunity for the Prime Minister to use this year’s conference to make a clear statement about the value such global initiatives stand to bring to everyday Britons’ experience of the changing climate.”

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Rebecca Speare-Cole is a PA sustainability reporter.

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