One In Six Brits Doubt That Humans Caused The Climate Crisis

Scientists almost unanimously agree but citizens remain unsure of their impact


3 Minutes Read

Solitary Polar Bear sitting on melting ice in Norway Solitary Polar Bear sitting on melting ice in Norway - Media Credit: Paulette Sinclair / Alamy Stock Photo

One in six UK adults does not believe that the climate crisis is caused by humans, according to a recent survey report.

King’s College London conducted the research to gain an understanding of public perceptions surrounding the climate emergency. Data concludes that many have lingering doubt over the causes of environmental damage.

Six European countries participated in the survey, which polled 12,000 adults. 

Flying in the face of climate science

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that human activities “unequivocally” caused the climate crisis. It underscores that land, sea, and air quality are all degrading.

The IPCC report is a stark warning and a remedial action plan rolled into one. Every government in the world signed off on the document, compiled by leading scientists and climatologists. Still, a minority of citizens seemingly do not believe what they are being told.

Some countries are less convinced by climate science than others. In the UK, 17 percent of people harbor doubts that humans are to blame for the climate crisis. Germany and Poland registered similar numbers with 18 and 16 percent respectively. Norway took the top spot for doubters with almost a quarter (24 percent) of citizens not convinced about human impact. A further 15 percent simply “did not know.”

Italy and Ireland proved the most convinced of the causal link between human endeavor and the climate emergency. In these countries, 82 and 81 percent of the populations, respectively, attributed environmental issues to humans. 

Overall, the majority of citizens do believe that the climate emergency is human-made, with a 74 percent European consensus identified by the study. Scientists leave no room for doubt, with 99.9 percent confirmed to connect humans and environmental impact.

Taking action to remedy the climate crisis

Despite an average of 81 percent of people feeling concerned about the climate crisis, the UK and Norway demonstrate leading levels of apathy. In both countries, around a third of citizens feel that there are “more important things to do in life than think about climate change.”

Of all the people optimistic that there is a route back to planetary health, 35 percent are aged 55 and over. Conversely, 60 percent of those who feel that it’s too late fall into the Gen Z and Millennial categories.

All age groups are making a conscious effort to embrace emissions-reducing activities. On average, 73 percent of individuals walk, cycle, or take public transport in place of driving a car. 

Again, Italy proved the most eco-aware country. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of its respondents support the idea of a fuel tax reform to penalize the most environmentally harmful.

In order to stay in line with the Paris Agreement, consensus about the causes of the climate crisis are essential. Chief contributors to climate damage include animal agriculture and fossil fuel industrialization.

Both sectors have fiercely fought against mandates to curb their emissions, particularly in the US, which is one of the largest emissions generators in the world. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just had its authority limited by a new Supreme Court ruling.

The IPCC has called for a drastic reduction in global meat consumption to stem the climate crisis. Removing meat (and dairy) from plates is “imperative” for survival, according to expert reviewer Dr. Peter Carter.

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