Rising UK climate change sceptics

The number of climate sceptics is rising according to a new report.

According to a report in The Guardian, nearly three out of four people accept that the world’s climate is changing but the proportion of sceptics in Britain has risen to 19%, a new survey of public attitudes to climate change and nuclear power has found.

The research, conducted by Cardiff University and the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, showed a marked decrease, from 91% to 72%, in the proportion of people who accepted that the Earth’s climate was changing. But nearly two thirds of people agreed that extreme weather events have become more frequent in Britain in the past 10 years. Of those people, 74% attributed this to climate change.

Two years after the Fukushima accident in Japan the differences in opinion between the two countries was marked. The study found that support for nuclear power in Britain had barely changed but not surprisingly had reached an all-time low in Japan.

The proportion of British respondents who wanted to see nuclear power continue at current levels or increase rose marginally to 43% from 42% eight years ago.

In comparison, renewable energy was far more popular than nuclear or coal. Solar power was backed by 77% of people, and wind power by 64%. Across all forms of electricity generation, nuclear (34%), coal (33%) and oil (34%) were the least favoured. Support for wind power had declined significantly since 2005 when very few wind farms had been constructed and 82% were in favour of them.

Steve Sanders of Pelican’s environmental PR and communications team said: “The contrast in attitudes is striking. What is interesting is that support for nuclear power has remained steady and, whilst support for renewables is significantly higher the popularity of wind farms has declined significantly. This is largely due to their impact on the landscape and confirms that many people are in favour of positive environmental initiatives as long as they don’t affect them in ways they consider negative.”

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