Climate Minister: Britons Are ‘Inherently Sceptical’ Of Climate Science And Politics

Thursday, 17 June 2010 08:49 Hayden Smith, Metro

High levels of scepticism and indifference among Britons continue to dog efforts to get the country to go greener, a Europe-wide study has concluded.

We continue to lag behind other major nations in our attitude to and appetite for tackling climate change. Less than a third of Britons believe the issue is ‘serious and urgent’ and requires ‘radical steps’.

A similar number of people doubt whether climate change is happening at all, according to the study.

This scepticism has contributed to the 2.1 tonnes of CO2 generated per house each year from electricity use – the highest of all ten countries examined by researchers at Imperial College London.

A little more than half of Britons are ‘quite’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change. In contrast in Spain, which topped the poll, three-quarters said they were at least quite concerned. [Climate Change Minister] Greg Barker said he was encouraged by nine in ten Britons saying they would make changes if given financial support.

‘I think the British are inherently quite sceptical about theoretical politics and science and maybe a little more cautious than some countries in Europe,’ he said.

‘But I am convinced British people want to do something about it.’

Prof Nigel Brandon of ICL said the study, commissioned by EDF Energy for Green Britain Day, said: ‘It all helps to build a more complete picture of how habits follow attitudes when it comes to the environment.’

Britain came sixth in the poll of 5,700 people across Europe.