High levels of climate change acceptance in a new British survey

A new report (PDF) on a national survey shows high levels of climate change acceptance in Britain. Asked "As far as you know, do you think the world's climate is changing or not?" 89% of respondents answered yes and 6% answered no, with 4% saying that they don't know. Asked "Thinking about the causes of climate change, which, if any, of the following best describes your opinion?" 87% said that climate change is completely (12%), mainly (38%), or partly (37%) caused by human activity, with 13% saying that climate change is mainly (8%) or entirely (5%) caused by natural processes, and 1% saying that there is no such thing as climate change.

Respondents were also asked "To the best of your knowledge, what proportion of scientists agree that climate change is happening and that humans are largely causing it?" "The vast majority of scientists agree (80% or more)"—the correct answer—was preferred by 36% of respondents, "Most scientists agree (more than 50% but fewer than 80%)" was preferred by 27%, "As many scientists agree as disagree (50%)" was preferred by 23%, "Some scientists agree (more than 20% but fewer than 50%)" was preferred by 10%, and "A small minority of scientists agree (20% or less)" was preferred by 3%.

The survey was part of the UK Climate Resilience Programme's British Public Perceptions of Climate Risk, Adaptation Options and Resilience (RESiL RISK) project, led by Cardiff University's Understanding Risk research group with inputs from Climate Outreach. The survey was conducted on-line through Qualtrics from October 14 to October 22, 2019, with 1401 respondents aged 18 years and over. Quotas were set for gender, age, region, education, and income to ensure that the sample was representative of the British public. No margin of error or confidence interval was specified in the report.

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.