YouGov poll indicates about 67% of UK adults appreciate that amount of flying should be restricted

A YouGov poll of 2,018 adults in the UK found that about two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change. The poll indicated about 28% said air travel should definitely be limited, with 38% said it should probably be restricted. Just 22% felt there was no need for limits, and 11% said they did not know. The poll was commissioned by the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), partly in the light of the publicity created by Heathrow Pause, in drawing attention to the nonsense of expanding Heathrow and increasing UK flying, when we are in a climate crisis.  The poll findings of 66% of people believing flying should be restricted is much higher than a few years ago, and signals a shift in social attitudes. This has happened because of more informed media coverage of climate issues, and more understanding that the climate is changing already. The polling also found that 48% of people had become more worried about climate change in the past year, up from around 25% in 2014. Whether people will actually cut the amount they fly remains to be seen – people prefer to opt for smaller changes …



Two-thirds of people support limiting air travel to tackle climate change

18 September 2019

By Cardiff University,  Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST)

Addressing climate change requires a ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ level of urgency, say more than three in five people.

Two-thirds of people also support limiting air travel in order to address climate change, whilst just over half are in support of reducing the amount of meat in our diets.

This is according to results from a YouGov poll commissioned by a brand new UK research centre set up to examine the social and behavioural changes needed for a low-carbon and sustainable society.

Led by scientists from Cardiff University, the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) will explore ways in which people can act directly to reduce their own carbon emissions, as well as influence other people, organisational decisions, and policies.

The centre has also been praised by climate activist Greta Thunberg who, in a special recorded message, described CAST as ‘extremely important and essential’ to helping achieve the drastic changes in our lifestyles to combat the climate crisis.

The £5m ESRC-funded centre is a collaboration between Cardiff, Manchester, York and East Anglia Universities, as well as the charity Climate Outreach.

Launching today at a special event held at Cardiff University, the Centre aims to become a global hub for understanding the profound changes required to address climate change, with a focus on four areas: food and diet; transport and mobility; consumption of goods; and heating and cooling.

To coincide with the launch, new findings have been released from research carried out in August 2019 assessing the public perceptions of climate change in the UK.

A total of 2,018 people were surveyed, which revealed that the urgency of climate change was recognised by the majority of respondents.

  • More than three out of five people (62%) said that addressing climate change requires a ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ level of urgency
  • A majority (61%) supported the UK Parliament’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’, with only 11% opposing this.
  • Two-thirds of people (67%) felt that we should limit air travel in order to address climate change, whereas only 22% felt we do not need to do so.
  • Just over half of the respondents (53%) were of the view that we should reduce the amount of meat in our diets to address climate change, whereas 37% felt we do not need to do so.

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations said: “We are very excited to be launching CAST. The Centre will aim to put people at the heart of the transformations required to address climate change, and seek to find ways in which we can live better as well as in low-carbon and sustainable ways.

“Cardiff University, together with our partners in Manchester, East Anglia, and York Universities, and charity Climate Outreach, will be working with a range of private-, public- and third- sector partners to understand how to transform lifestyles, organisations and social structures in order to achieve a low-carbon future.

“Our new survey findings make clear that most people feel climate change is an urgent issue, and are willing to make significant changes to their own lifestyles to help tackle it. Changing travel and food habits are amongst the most impactful thing individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint – it’s very encouraging that there’s support amongst the public for making these changes.”

Professor Jennifer Rubin, executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, said: “This is a really important Centre to be funding because of its strong focus on developing and testing effective approaches to communicating climate change and its effects. Despite the urgent need to tackle climate change, researchers know that people rarely talk about it on a day-to-day basis – this means opportunities for meaningful dialogue and practical responses relevant to people’s everyday lives are missed.”

At the Centre’s launch speakers from Cardiff University, the Economic and Social Research Council, and National Assembly for Wales shared their views on how people can live differently in ways that meet the urgent need for rapid and far-reaching emission reductions.



Most people in the UK back limits on flying to tackle climate change

ENVIRONMENT  – New Scientist

18 September 2019
By Adam Vaughan

The poll was conducted by YouGov for the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), an academic research collaboration in the UK. It comes after campaigners were arrested last week for plans to fly drones near Heathrow airport. The Heathrow Pause group says the green light for a third runway at Heathrow is a “dangerous folly” due to its climate impact.



Climate crisis seen as ‘most important issue’ by public, poll shows

Eight-country poll shows people view climate crisis as priority over migration and terrorism

A majority of the public recognise the climate crisis as an “emergency” and say politicians are failing to tackle the problem, backing the interests of big oil over the wellbeing of ordinary people, according to an eight-country poll.

The survey, which comes before what is expected to be the world’s biggest climate demonstrations on Friday, found that climate breakdown is viewed as the most important issue facing the world, ahead of migration, terrorism and the global economy, in seven out of the eight countries surveyed. In the US it comes third behind terrorism and affordable healthcare.

Nick Lowles, from UK-based anti-racism group Hope not Hate, which commissioned the survey, said the findings showed that the public were “way ahead” of politicians in recognising the scale of the climate crisis. “They understand the scale of the problem and want governments to take the strong and decisive action that this emergency requires.”

He said the crisis would have a huge impact on racism, division and conflict in future years unless it was tackled now.

“As an organisation dedicated to bringing communities together and challenging the politics of division, we believe that our leaders must take swift action on climate change so that environmental pressures do not become a source of hostility, anger and competition in our societies.”

It found that at least three-quarters of the public think the world is facing a “climate emergency”, with climate breakdown at risk of becoming “extremely dangerous”.

The overwhelming majority in each country – 74% in Britain – said they were already seeing the influence of the climate crisis in extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods, and around two-thirds describe it as a direct threat to ordinary people in their country.

The poll reveals widespread alarm that the crisis is on the brink of spinning out of control, with 64% in the UK agreeing with the statement “time is running out to save the planet” – the figure was 70% in Germany, 74% in Brazil and 57% in the US.

It also found that few people believe their governments are doing enough – only 23% in the UK, 20% in Germany, 23% in Brazil and 26% in the US agree that ministers are taking sufficient action.

The results will put pressure on world leaders gathering for the climateaction summit in New York next week. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has called for heads of government to bring plans – not words – to address the climate emergency ahead of a 2020 deadline for countries to raise their national targets under the Paris agreement. The treaty signed in 2015 obliged governments to keep temperatures well below 2C and to strive for 1.5C

The poll found that most people called for radical measures to cut emissions – including building more wind turbines and solar panels, providing more charging points for electric cars, and investing to create jobs in clean industries.

They also wanted governments to be tougher on big polluters and to force them to pay for the damage they caused, although the public are sceptical this would happen, with at least two-thirds suggesting politicians put the interests of big oil and gas corporations before those of local communities.

The poll also found support for tougher measures to cut emissions, including a halt to coal mining and an end to oil and gas drilling, as well as increased taxes on frequent fliers.

The findings come just a day before millions of people are expected to take to the streets for the global climate strike. Walkouts and demonstrations are expected in cities on every continent except Antarctica and adults, businesses and trade unions have been urged to join.

Laurence Tubiana, the CEO of the European Climate Foundation, said the findings in the poll underlined the growing support for immediate radical action.

“This poll reconfirms what the growing numbers of people striking for climate action are saying: We’re worried, we know we can do more, leaders, we need you to step up and unite behind the science.”