A UK poll is showing that the general public is agreeing more and more with the scientific consensus on man-made climate change. Scotland fares particularly well, better than England and Wales.

The Brits are aware of climate change and are concerned about its effects on nature. Image credits: Andrew Bennett, in Wales, UK.

The ComRes poll surveyed 2,045 British adults and found that 64% believe that man-made climate change is happening and we are causing it (or most of it), up from 57% who agreed with this view in 2014. The main concerns of British citizens are damage to nature and an increase in flooding, with 80% and 73% respectively being concerned about these issues.

“Over just three years there has been a discernible shift in public opinion towards acceptance that climate change is both happening and mainly caused by human activity,” ComRes chairman Andrew Hawkins said.

“The significance of this is that the public are becoming increasingly willing to see polluting energy sources phased out, to adopt alternative technologies and accept public policy changes to shift behaviour.”

The most interesting growth was when it came to scientists. According to the poll, 70% of all respondents agree there is a virtual scientific consensus on man-made climate change, up from a mere 16% in 2014. Sixty percent of them are also worried about food availability, which easily can be threatened as was seen in the recent ‘lettuce crisis.’

But there were also differences based on age and geography. Younger people were more likely to believe climate change is real, with 73 per cent of 18-24-year-olds backing the scientific consensus compared to just over half (54 percent) of those aged 65 or over. Interestingly, a third of the latter believes climate change is happening, but humans aren’t causing it. Just 2-5% of all people believed climate change wasn’t happening at all.

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Scottish people were also more inclined to agree with the science than the Welsh and the Englishmen. However, London was the place with the largest share of the population who believes humans are causing climate change — 71 percent. The lowest figure (57 percent) was found in the North and East of England.

Professor Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, welcomed the news.

“For people who have worked on climate change for decades, the finding that people recognise the sheer weight of scientific evidence is extremely heartening,” she said.

“But as the climate system sends increasingly urgent signals of the stress it is coming under, this understanding must be turned into action to address to the problem. We have the means to avoid the very worst impacts of climate change, and create a cleaner, healthier society – all it takes is the will.”

Also, WWF-UK head of climate and energy Gareth Redmond-King said that the poll is a “wake-up call” for Government to start reducing its emissions. The people are aware of climate change and they want to address it — it’s now time for the politicians to take action.

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