Worries about climate change increase following heatwave

Beth MannSenior Research Executive
July 29, 2022, 9:40 AM GMT+0

Following the UK’s record-breaking heatwave, the number of people selecting ‘the environment’ as one of the most important issues facing the country right now has increased by 10 percentage points from the week before temperatures climbed, from 23% to 33%. This is just five points behind the second highest issue, health, at 38%, although still a long way behind first-placed ‘the economy’, on 64%.

Worry increases amongst Britons, particularly those now saying they are ‘very worried' about climate change and its effects

A separate survey also shows that Britons have become increasingly worried about climate change and its effects, with 67% now saying so, compared to 59% in our previous survey in April. This includes a jump of 13pts in the number of people who are currently ‘very worried’, from 20% to 33%.

Women are markedly more worried about climate change than men (by 75% to 58%), as are those in the ABC1 social grade compared to their C2DE peers (by 73% to 61%), and 2019 Labour voters compared to their Conservative counterparts (by 83% to 56%).

Overall, there are no differences in net levels of worry across age groups, however, younger Britons (18-24) are more likely than those over 65 to be very worried, by 36% to 28%.

Despite being more worried about the climate situation, Britons’ are unwilling to make major lifestyle changes to benefit the environment

Being worried about climate change is one thing, but being willing to do something about it is another. From a list of 12 lifestyle changes people could make, Britons say they are most willing to only eat fruit and veg that is in season and never buy single-use plastic, with 60% and 59% respectively saying so. Half also say they are willing to switch to a green energy provider (49%).

However, whilst one in three (37%) are willing to reduce their meat and dairy intake, only 13% are willing to cut them from their diet entirely (along with 7% who have already done so). Most Britons say they are not willing to cut out meat and dairy completely (67%).

Britons are also reluctant to commit to only buying second-hand clothing (46% not willing) or use alternative modes of transport to cars (44% not willing).

See full results here

Header image: Getty Images

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