December 7, 2011
There has been dramatic decline over the past decade in the public’s support for tackling climate change in Britain. Backing for higher green taxes and charges has waned and scepticism about the seriousness of the threat to the environment has increased.
The British Social Attitudes survey shows that in 2000 43% of the population would pay “much higher prices” for “the sake of the environment”. Last summer support fell to just 26%, with the poorest sections of society most reluctant to save the planet with their cash.
Over the same period the public has become much more sceptical about the science behind climate change. In 2010 37% said many claims about environmental threats were “exaggerated”, up from 24% in 2000.
Alison Park, research director of the survey, said that the two factors that loomed large in the public’s mind appeared to be the financial crisis which made people much less likely to be able to sacrifice cash or taxes. She also said that “climategate” claims about the veracity of scientific claims in 2009 had also damaged the case of proponents of global warming theories.