72% of Britons think climate change is a result of human activity, up 20pts since 2013

Adam McDonnellResearch Director of Political and Social Research
November 02, 2021, 11:36 AM UTC

Less than 10 years ago only half of people thought humanity was to blame

As the issue of climate change becomes a more pressing issue, the conversation has moved away from whether or not humans are to blame towards what humanity can do to prevent it. It wasn’t so long ago, however, that many in the public were still debating these fundamentals.

The latest YouGov research shows that seven in ten adults in Britain (72%) now believe the world's climate is changing as a result of human activity. This compares to 13% who believe climate change is not due to human activity, and only 3% of people who do not think the climate is changing at all.

It is not too long ago, however, that opinions were far more split on the issue. The first iteration of this survey in 2013 found, however, found that only half of Brits (49%) thought climate change was caused by humans, while 28% thought the climate was changing but not due to human action, and 7% who said the climate wasn’t changing at all. This shift in public opinion has been gradual across the last eight years, however, with attitudes having remained roughly the same since 2019.

Though perceptions have changed across all age groups, the biggest shifts have come from those aged 65 or over. In 2013, only one in three (36%) thought the climate was changing due to human activity, while 40% of these older Britons thought it was not due to mankind, or not changing at all (7%). Fast forward to the present day and approaching three quarters (74%) of this age group now believe climate change is the result of human activity, compared to just 16% who think it is not, or doesn’t exist at all. While historically there have been differences in opinion depending on your age, these have largely evaporated, with around seven in ten of all age groups now saying humans are the cause of climate change.

See full results here