New Icaro research on whether there is a consensus in Britain on climate change or not.
New research by Icaro shows that the majority of the British public acknowledge the influence of human activity in climate change, although only a minority think that it is the main cause.
Indeed, close to one in three (31%) think that climate change is ‘largely being caused by human activity’ whereas a slightly larger proportion (41%) think that it is being caused by a ‘roughly even combination of human activity and natural cycles’ (Figure 1). In total, these two views account for over seven in ten (72%) among the population.
By contrast, a minority of 16% think that climate change is largely being caused by natural cycles, whereas a further 4% do not think that the climate is changing.
Younger people are more likely to acknowledge the influence of man - 39% of those aged 18-34 thinks that climate change is largely being caused by human activity, compared to 20% of those aged 65+. Political affiliation also appears to play a role – with UKIP voters in particular much less likely to acknowledge the role of human activity in climate change (56%) compared to 78% of Labour voters, 77% of Lib Dem voters and 71% of Conservative voters. Those who voted for the Green party are most likely to acknowledge the role of human activity in climate change (89%).
While the British public acknowledge the role of human activity in causing climate change, there is less surety in terms of the perceived balance of opinion among scientists. Less than one in three (29%) think that ‘there is consensus among scientists that human activity is causing climate change’ (Figure 2). Instead, a large proportion (41%) think there is ‘some agreement among scientists that human activity is causes climate change, although many scientists still disagree’. In addition, a minority of around one in six (17%) thinks that ‘there is no consensus or agreement - scientists remain divided about the causes of climate change’.
Once again, perceptions vary by age group and political party. Older people less likely to think that there is a scientific consensus (22% among those aged 65+ compared to 34% of those aged 18-34), while UKIP voters are the most likely to say that there is no consensus or agreement at all - 30% compared to 21% of Conservative voters and 13% of both Labour and Lib Dem voters.
This matters because there is a strong relationship between the perceived balance of opinion among scientists and corresponding attitudes to the role of human activity in climate change – those who recognise the scientific consensus are overwhelmingly likely to think that climate change is largely caused by human activity. By contrast, those who perceive no scientific consensus are more likely to think that climate change is caused by natural cycles (or that there is no such thing as climate change).
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a survey by Icaro with 2,000 GB adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken online between 9th - 17th June 2015. The overall sample has been weighted to match the profile of the GB adult population in terms of age, gender, work status and region.
For further details please contact Phil Downing at email@example.com