Climate is changing – but some believe the threat has been exaggerated

September 23, 2013, 4:57 PM GMT+0

79% of people believe that the world’s climate is changing, but 39% believe concerns have been exaggerated by scientists

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is preparing its fifth Assessment Report on climate change, due out on Friday. The IPCC report brings together 800 scientists in 85 countries and serves as the basis for UN negotiations on CO2 emissions. This build-up to this year’s report has been overshadowed by allegations of political wrangling as sceptics demand an explanation for the “standstill” in global temperatures since 1998.

A new YouGov survey has found that a majority of the public feel the climate is changing, but a significant minority feel that concerns have been exaggerated.

In total, 79% of the British public think the world's climate is changing, however 23% think it is not man-made, compared to 56% that believe it is. 7% believe the world’s climate isn’t changing and 14% don’t know.

Belief in man-made climate change is up 6% from our last poll. In June, when the question was last asked, 49% felt that climate change was a result of human activity, 28% felt it was changing but not as a result of human activity, 7% felt the climate was not changing and 16% weren't sure.

The political row this week centres on whether the effect of carbon dioxide emissions have been exaggerated in previous reports and a significant proportion of British public share this view.

39% believe that concerns over climate change have been exaggerated, although 47% believe the threat is as real as scientists have said.

When it comes to the public response to climate change, with the backdrop of rising fuel bills and a cost of living crisis in the UK, only 22% of the public would be willing to see electricity bills rise if the money was spent on cleaner energy. Two-thirds (67%) would not be willing to see their bills rising.