By JR on Saturday, January 29, 2011
The number of climate change sceptics has almost doubled in four years, official research showed yesterday. A quarter of Britons are unconvinced that the world is warming following successive freezing winters and a series of scandals over the credibility of climate science.
The figures suggest that a growing proportion of the public do not share the belief of all three major political parties and Whitehall – that climate change is a major and urgent challenge requiring radical and expensive policies.
The survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, has plotted levels of acceptance of the theory of man-made global warming since 2006. In that year it found that 87 per cent of people were at least ‘fairly convinced’ that climate change was happening. Last year that share had dropped to 75 per cent. Numbers who say they are unconvinced went up from 12 to 23 per cent.
The erosion of the public consensus behind global warming coincided with the ‘Climategate’ fiasco which came after damaging e-mails from the University of East Anglia were leaked in November 2009, and the arrival of another cold winter.
There were also setbacks for climate change advocates over flaws in UN reports on global warming and evidence that temperatures across the world have been falling.
The proportion of those who said they were ‘not very concerned’ about global warming now includes more than one in five.
The latest polling, carried out in August last year, came before the arrival of another big freeze.
There is also an increasing reluctance to take personal steps to tackle climate change. Fewer than half those polled – 46 per cent – are ready to use their cars less, and only 47 per cent are prepared to take public transport more often. Fewer than a quarter – 23 per cent – are willing to fly less.