Twice as many people in India and Japan rank climate change as one of the most important environmental issues, highlighting the challenge facing UK policymakers and climatologists
Experts believe last year’s notoriously cold British winter may explain why people in the UK are less concerned about climate change.
Only a quarter of Britons believe climate change is one of the most important environmental issues facing the UK today, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI and released to the Ecologist this week.
Ambivalence in the UK is in sharp contrast to Asian countries like India, South Korea and Japan where 50 per cent of those polled consider climate change to be one of the most important environmental issues.
The MORI poll involved more than 18,000 people across the world, who were asked to choose the three most important environmental issues facing their country. Of the 24 countries surveyed, the UK was among the least concerned about climate change, with energy security, waste disposal and overpopulation listed as the most pressing environmental issues. Other European countries showed similar results to UK, with people in Germany and Sweden principally concerned with sources of future energy supplies.
Climate researchers put the difference, in part, on the countries susceptibility to climate change. ‘India has much less resilience to climate change and less money for adaptation and mitigation. They have an extremely large population in coastal cities which are sensitive to rising sea levels,’ says Professor Corrine Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. ‘Bangladesh is also the neighbouring country which is very sensitive to rising sea levels so they might have immigration coming from Bangladesh.’