Green Taxes are Turning Britons More Sceptical
Photo courtesy heartsr3.
Ben Webster, Environment Editor, and Peter Riddell
Less than half the population believes that human activity is to blame for global warming, according to an exclusive poll for The Times.
The revelation that ministers have failed in their campaign to persuade the public that the greenhouse effect is a serious threat requiring urgent action will make uncomfortable reading for the Government as it prepares for next month’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.
Only 41 per cent accept as an established scientific fact that global warming is taking place and is largely man-made. Almost a third (32 per cent) believe that the link is not yet proved; 8 per cent say that it is environmentalist propaganda to blame man and 15 per cent say that the world is not warming.
Tory voters are more likely to doubt the scientific evidence that man is to blame. Only 38 per cent accept it, compared with 45 per cent of Labour supporters and 47 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters.
The high level of scepticism underlines the difficulty the Government will have in persuading the public to accept higher green taxes to help to meet Britain’s legally binding targets to cut carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
The recession appears to have made tackling climate change less of a priority for many people. Only just over a quarter (28 per cent) think that it is happening and is “far and away the most serious problem we face as a country and internationally”, while just over half (51 per cent) think it is “a serious problem, but other problems are more serious”.
Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said that growing awareness of the scale of the problem appeared to be resulting in people taking refuge in denial.
“Being confronted with the possibility of higher energy bills, wind farms down the road and new nuclear power stations encourages people to question everything about climate change,” she said. “There is a resistance to change and some people see the problem being used as an excuse to charge them more taxes.”
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “The overwhelming body of scientific information is stacked up against the deniers and shows us that climate change is man-made and is happening now. We know that we still have a way to go in informing people about climate change and that is why we make no apologies about pushing forward with our new Act on CO2 campaign.”
Copyright 2009, The Times
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