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