Only two in five people would support increasing taxes as part of efforts to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions – but a majority are in favour of hiking the cost of air travel and banning petrol and diesel cars from city centres, new polling suggests.
In a YouGov poll for Sky News, more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they believed the world’s climate was changing as a result of human activity.
This compared to one in 10 (11%) who agreed the world’s climate was changing but disagreed it was because of human activity, while only 2% said the world’s climate was not changing.
More than half (52%) thought the cost of and upheaval caused by climate change, if Britain does not reduce carbon emissions, would be worse than the cost and upheaval required to reduce the country’s carbon emissions. This compared to 23% who thought the opposite and 25% who weren’t sure.
However, despite an overwhelming majority accepting man-made climate change, those who responded to the survey were split over how the issue should be tackled.
Two in five (40%) said they would support taxes being increased to help pay the costs of reducing Britain’s carbon emissions, with a greater proportion (44%) opposed.
There was majority support for increasing the cost of air travel (59% in support compared to 32% opposed), as well for banning petrol and diesel cars from city centres from 2030 (54% in support, 37% opposed).
But most respondents did not support increasing the cost of gas and electricity (78% opposed, 14% in support), increasing the cost of petrol or diesel (60% opposed, 32% in support), or increasing the cost of meat and dairy products (61% opposed, 31% in support).
One in five (22%) said they were most likely to purchase an electric car when they next buy a car, compared to 17% who said they would buy a petrol car and 7% who said they would buy a diesel car.
Two-thirds (66%) who said they would buy a petrol or diesel car said this was, among other reasons, because an electric car would be too expensive.
When asked how energy efficient their current home is, 62% said it was efficient while 28% said it was not.
Of those who believed their current home was not very energy efficient, 38% said improving its energy efficiency would be too expensive, among other reasons.
The YouGov poll of 1,729 British adults was conducted on 9 and 10 November and prior to the conclusion of the COP26 international climate change conference in Glasgow.
More than three in five (62%) said they had not been paying much attention, or no attention at all, to the Glasgow summit, while nearly two in five (39%) said they had been taking notice.
More than two-thirds (68%) were pessimistic that the world would make the necessary changes to limit the impact of climate change, with less than one-fifth (17%) optimistic.
Boris Johnson used the COP26 conference to urge world leaders to commit to action on reducing global warming.
But more than half (55%) of those surveyed believed the prime minister had done badly on providing global leadership on climate change, with less than a quarter (22%) thinking Mr Johnson had done well.
Prior to the conclusion of the Glasgow summit, less than one in 10 (9%) thought COP26 had been a success with more than one-fifth (42%) thinking it had not been one, although nearly half (49%) said they did not know.
Subscribe to ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker
Commenting on the findings of the poll, YouGov’s director of political research Anthony Wells said: “All in all, people believe in climate change and say we should address it, but are far less willing to pay for it.”
The full results of the YouGov survey can be found here.