News

Only 15% in Wales think climate change will affect their local area ‘a great deal’

12 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
An Extinction Rebellion protest in Cardiff. Picture by Josh Lowe.

Despite scientists warning that climate change will cause irreparable and catastrophic damage to the environment, only 15% of people in Wales believe that climate change will affect their local area ‘a great deal’.

According to results from a Welsh Government survey of 1,149 participants, fewer than half (42%) recognised that climate change could impact their local area to ‘some extent’.

However, an overwhelming majority (84%) believed that the way they lived their lives needed to substantially change to tackle the climate emergency, and 86% admitted they are concerned about climate change.

The results of the survey were published after a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that a 1.5C rise in global temperatures was likely whatever efforts were now made to cut carbon emissions.

That would lead to extreme heatwaves, droughts, flooding and sea level rises, they said. UN Secretary General António Guterres said the repport was “code red” for humanity.

According to the Welsh Government poll, the bulk of those surveyed believed that a net zero emissions future would be better for their wellbeing (77%) and health (80%).

Around half (51%) said net zero would be better for the economy. 80% also supported the UK’s commitment of reaching net zero by 2050 and most would like to see a range of behaviour changes to reach this.

84% said they would like to see even less food being wasted, less packaging and increased recycling. 81% reported to be already minimising their food waste or were likely to do so.

‘Floods’

Responding to the poll, the Minister for Climate Change Julie James said she did not doubt Wales’ ability to unite in big and bold actions to fight the climate emergency.

“Reaching net zero by 2050 will require decisive action over the next ten years, meaning government, businesses and communities coming together to change the way we eat, shop, travel and heat our homes,” she said.

“Whilst there will be up-front costs in taking action, the long-term financial and wellbeing costs of doing nothing will be significantly higher. We know climate change will impact all of our communities, with floods in Wales predicted to become even more frequent and drastic than the last two years we have experienced.

“We mustn’t feel overwhelmed by the actions we take today to invest in our future. A net zero Wales will look healthier, happier and more prosperous for us and our children and grandchildren, and all generations that follow.”

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Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago

We are already seeing change in the impact on our local environment from climate change. I guess time will tell how much more we will see.
But it’s heartening to see that 84% agree that we must substantially change how we live to try and combat climate change as a whole.
1. It shows that deniers are just a very loud minority in Cymru
2. It shows altruistim is common in Cymru. EG we don’t think it will change much for us personally but acknowledge change is needed to protect the whole.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

How does an average citizen (51%) know that zero would improve the economy?
Tell them, in plain words, what you have planned for their futures.
Then put the questions to them again.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

JH – that strikes at the heart of the issue. I suspect that ALL people have concerns about the general direction and pace of climate change. However many of us are not at all impressed by the tone and content of the measures being adopted to arrest decline and achieve that “zero” objective. Already there have been instances of bias – wind turbines becoming a sacred symbol of all that is “good”- when we know that an examination of cost base and collateral damage should direct our mental energies towards finding and applying other solutions. After all, diversity is the… Read more »

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Whilst the media and the NIMBYs focus on wind turbines, the wider energy strategy includes all types of renewables (wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, kinetic etc), fission and fusion. Those working on the strategies are not focussing on just wind. As always, the wind is coming from a useless media and those that oppose any kind of progress (who see it as an easy target)

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

The strategy may indeed contain all those technologies but the wind turbine industry is racing ahead because it is largely driven by large corporates. Government in Cardiff and in London should ensure that the strategic vision is delivered with a sight more balance than is being achieved currently. Too many wonks working at the approvals and funding stages see “renewables” and “wind” as synonymous.

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Heck of a lot of solar farms popping up too. The others are less visible to the public

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

All for solar. yes and many other forms. Even wind turbines that are small and aid hill and other small farmsteads. But Welsh Gov. should stop subsidising giant turbines especially those occupying water-retaining upland bog. Also, no one seems to know the power requirement for Wales. Finally, these wind turbines are manufactured exclusively from fossil fuels. Do not greenies seem to have a mental gymnastic attitude to this?

Last edited 1 month ago by j humphrys
Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Mostly steel. Carbon and iron. The pollution created in producing steel is offset by the pollution free green energy created, so the total carbon footprint is quickly repaid.
I also like solar. But on buildings, not covering acres of farmland. The farmers feel differently

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago

Good. Now can we please extract the gas and coal and make Wales wealthy?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

Not as bad as it sounds. There were proven means of neutralising much of the dirt that went up the chimney in coal fired stations using minerals that reacted with the emissions. Used for example to create the base “ingredient” for plasterboard and related products for building industry. No doubt exhaust streams from various gas fired processes could also be used in a similar way but I suspect that the time for such innovation has passed.

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Gas can be extracted and the CO2 captured. In any event, prices will rise significantly through this decade, and instead of capitalising on the opportunity to enrich ourselves for once, the Welsh middle class prefers to virtue signal about climate change whilst importing gas anyway, and whilst China, Russia, and others have the sense to make hay. Even the Welsh government expects our use of gas to increase. There’s no way renewables will come close to meeting demand in the next decade, but instead of using our own, we’ll be importing it from countries with very questionable human rights records.… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

Again this opens up the question about all those wasted years when scientists and engineers offered up a variety of ways to “capture” the dirt and effluent gases from all sorts of processes and reuse them as components in new second generation products. Most ideas were under exploited or ignored. At risk of sounding paranoid I remain convinced that this was mostly down to interference by vested corporate interests.

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

To be honest, I don’t think the climate issue is one we in Wales should be concerning ourselves with right now. We are poor, and our emissions statistically insignificant. We should focus on getting rich first, and using that money to invest in renewables if we want, just like Norway have done. Unfortunately, our political class is more concerned with posturing than they are with materially improving the economic wellbeing of the Welsh people.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

I got real flack years ago from wanting us to be like the Swiss or
Singapore. It’s like “but we are so comfy not having a pot to p**s in”.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

…and very comfy having our neighbours p**sing down our necks and charging us for keeping us warm !

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

The middle class is comfortable, and needs the climate agenda to assuage its conscience. The ‘socialist’ parties in Wales couldn’t give two hoots about the working class.

You know why Port Talbot steelworks struggle? Energy costs, yet they have gas rught under their feet.

The whole world is gearing up for an industrial recovery, and our impoverished industrial heartlands should be gaining enormously from it, but we won’t because avocado scoffing, middle class poseurs want to impress Greta.

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

You’ve a real bug up your butt about the “middle class” and “socialists” hey? Port Talbot struggles because the steel industry struggles in Europe. Cheap imports from China. Port Talbot actually captures many of its emissions and uses them to generate its own energy. They have onsite power plants. They are not “green” but anyone who can think back 20 years remembers how much that place used to stink. And before you start accusing, I grew up the son of a miner (when we had such things) and all the “middle classes” were greedy tories. on your other points, EFW… Read more »

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

Oh and avocado is a healthy tasty delivery system for spicy seasoning. It’s delicious. If you see it as a class war thing you keep choking back your full English and harden up your arteries and this working class boy made good will continue to stay well fed and healthy with better, tastier food.

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

Unsurprisingly, the irony of environmentalists scoffing avocado is lost on you.

Your “let them eat cake” attitude is exactly what I dislike about the middle class. Thank you for providing the evidence.

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

You clearly don’t understand the limited impact “food miles” actually has on carbon footprint. Maybe you should move your understanding forward into adulthood

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

You need to calm down, Cynan.

Yes, cheap imports from China. Exactly my point. And they use cheap coal. Lots of it. We could use cheap gas, thereby being competitive. Steelworks is just one example.

I don’t mention EFW anywhere.

I don’t mention fracking anywhere.

Extracting coal will not be “uneconomical” in the next 5-10 years. That’s my point, which seems to have passed you by as the blood rushed to your head.

Let’s just watch the next cycle play out, and reconvene in a few years, shall we?

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

Oh the “You need to calm down” gambit. Haven’t seen that since school. So 6th form debating rules yes? You didn’t mention China at all. So it was not “your point”. You whined that Tata wasn’t producing energy from its gas emissions. I confirmed that it was. You DID mention EFW. You just didn’t know it existed or what to call it. You imply fracking (the only real source of natural gas in Cymru since ALL of our gas is imported otherwise. Extracting coal IS uneconomical. Nobody is investing in new technologies to more efficiently extract fossil fuels. We don’t… Read more »

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

I didn’t mention anything about Tata producing energy from its emissions. You’ve just made up a load of straw men to attack. It WAS my point that Port Talbot is uncompetitive due to its energy costs.

This is a waste of time, Cynan. As I say, let’s just watch what transpires over the next few years.

Gweirydd
Gweirydd
1 month ago
Reply to  Gweirydd

Nobody is investing in extracting fossil fuels – this is why prices will rise, thereby making it economical.

No, it’s not fracking.

You’ve just completely misunderstood the whole point, and gone on a rant.

We won’t reconvene, of course, but I’m pretty sure fossil fuel prices will be significantly higher, and we’ll have lost an opportunity.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

The debate between blue and green hydrogen is being covered again. Simply, “blue” represents Hydrogen extracted from hydrocarbons while “green” hydrogen relies on electrolysers and renewable energy. Both are at relatively early stages but this debate threatens to slow things down as it is arguable that the “blue” product would be a useful stepping stone pending successful up scaling of the “green”. Both are regarded as less dirty than what currently gets used for energy generation. As ever corporate interests globally override any rational decisions.

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Agreed. Currently 95% of hydrogen production is blue, created already as a byproduct of oil refining. Until oil is replaced by better fuel, it would be foolish to not use the byproduct.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

Finns presently working on forest tech to replace oil, etc. I don’t know anything
about techniques, but the TV news reports positive progress. In the meantime
Nordsteam 2 is due for completion end of this month, so Siberia may be the
source for central European energy for decades. Is this the dawn of the Eurasian Age? It doesn’t seem to include these Islands, so we had better get our thinking
caps on and build Cymru. First project, a big border forest?

David
David
1 month ago

Of course if any one of us is serious on our position of going more green and think we should. 1) Remember to give up your mobile phone and never renew it, 2) Sell your car or scrap it into land waste. And separate the fuel and oils first. Do not buy a new model as the plastic and fibre glass bodies are quarried from the earth. And the new electric batteries are a environmental risk in landfill afterwards as China already has dangerous lithium lakes. Do not allow corporations to carry out mineral research in Greenland for minerals from… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Awesome, Dai!

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