- The overwhelming majority of Brits (76%) agree that the threat from man-made global climate change is real and could have a devastating impact. Just 8% disagree.
- However, a sizeable minority of Brits, about one third (32%), also agree that economic growth should always be prioritised over the environment. In particular, Leave voters (43%) and Conservative voters (46%).
- Vast majority of Brits (79%) willing to pay something additional for the UK to achieve net zero by 2050, but willingness varies substantially, depending on financial circumstance, age, and political views.
a. Freshwater Strategy estimates that on average, a majority of British adults would be willing to pay up to £8.50 per week^, almost £450 per year, in order to ensure that the UK achieves net zero carbon emissions by 2050
b. It is estimated that around 10% of Brits would be willing to pay up to £40 per week, around just over £2,000 per year
c. Approximately one in five Brits (21%) suggest they would not pay anything extra for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and may even require bills to reduce in order to accept that the UK should achieve net zero emissions by 2050
d. Analysis suggests those who are more willing to pay include, those on higher incomes, younger people, and Liberal Democrat supporters
A Freshwater Strategy poll, conducted between the 23rd and 25th September, shows that the overwhelming majority of Brits (76%) agree that the threat from climate change is real and could have a devastating impact. Just 8% of people disagree.
Agreement is fairly consistent across voter groups, with a clear majority of supporters from all political parties agreeing; more than two thirds of Leavers (68%), 84% of Remainers, almost three quarters of Conservatives (71%) and four fifths of Labour supporters (82%) and nine in ten Lib Dems (90%).
However, a significant minority of voters also agree that economic growth should always be prioritised over the environment, suggesting that there is a price on obtaining Britain’s environmental and climate change goals.
Prioritising the economy over the environment was strongest among Conservatives (46%) and Leave supporters (43%), whereas young people (28%), Lib Dems (21%) and Remain voters (25%) were least likely to agree.
When asked what they would be willing to pay in order for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the results show a wide disparity between respondents, not only in terms of their means, but also their politics.
For instance, a clear majority of Brits (79%) suggest that that are willing to pay at least something additional for the UK to achieve net zero by 2050. Whereas around one fifth of Britons (21%) say that they are not willing to pay anything at all, or they may even need to be slightly better off to accept the 2050 UK goal (see red zone, figure 3, below).
Freshwater Strategy estimates that, the tipping point for the average British adult is approximately £8.50 per week in additional contribution (this is a maximum), equating to almost £450 per year, in order to ensure that the UK achieves net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It is also estimated that around 10% of Brits would be willing to pay up to £40 per week, which sums to more than £2,000 per year.
Analysis of the results suggests that those who are more likely to be willing to pay to achieve net zero carbon emissions are: those on higher incomes, younger people, and Liberal Democrat supporters.
Those who prioritise the economy over the environment are less likely to be willing to pay more for the UK to achieve this climate goal, as are the small proportion of Brits who are sceptical about man-made climate change.
An article by The Independent, featuring these results, can be found here.
Freshwater Strategy interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults living in Great Britain, online between 23rd and 25th September. Data are weighted.
For comment, additional analysis, or a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, please get in touch.
^Please note that this figure is an estimated maximum using a conjoint analysis conducted on the survey specifically to gauge respondent’s willingness to pay for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050