Britons think politicians campaigning for action on climate change are more interested in PR

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
October 20, 2021, 12:42 PM UTC

Only half think organised protesters are motivated by genuine desire for action

Sunday night saw the award ceremony for the first “Earthshot” prizes given to five projects around the world working on tackling the climate crisis. The prize and ceremony were set up by Prince William, who has recently been outspoken about the need to tackle the issue of climate change.

But do people think people in the public eye calling for action on the climate are motivated by genuine desire for action, or are they trying to maintain a positive public image?

Only 19% of Britons think that famous people campaigning for action on climate change are more interested in generating action on tackling the issue. This compares to six in ten (61%) who think they are more interested in maintaining a positive public image for themselves.

People are even more sceptical of politicians, with only 13% thinking those who call for action on the climate crisis are doing so to see progress, while nearly seven in ten (68%) think they are more interested in their personal public image. 

Even for organised protest groups, only around half (53%) of Britons believe they act because they want to see action on the issue of climate change. Some 17% think they are more motivated by their public image, and 16% think it's another reason.

Conservative voters are particularly doubtful of famous people campaigning for climate action compared to Labour voters. Three-quarters of Tories (75%) think celebrities campaigning on the issue are more interested in a positive public image, compared to 54% of Labour voters who hold this view.

Similarly, less than half of Conservatives (40%) think that organised protest groups are acting on a desire for change. Some 28% of these voters think they care more about their image, while 24% think they are motivated by another reason. In comparison, nearly three-quarters of Labour voters (72%) think protest groups are driven by a genuine desire for change, rather than their public image (8%).

The two parties share similar views of politicians however, some 76% of Conservatives and 69% of Labour voters think politicians who campaign for climate action are more interested in projecting a good personal image rather than action.

See full results here