Nearly six in 10 people think the Government is doing too little to tackle climate change, a poll suggests.
The survey – for aid agency Cafod ahead of international climate talks, Cop27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt – also found that almost half of those quizzed did not think the Government was committed to its climate goals.
And more than a third thought the UK was not doing enough to support poorer countries tackle climate change – an issue which will be a key agenda item at Cop27.
The Government has legal targets to cut emissions to zero overall – known as net zero – by 2050 to end the UK’s contribution to global warming, and hosted last year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
But ahead of this year’s talks, it has come under fire for actions including offering 100 new licences for North Sea oil and gas drilling – even as experts warn there can be no new fossil fuel exploration if the world is to curb temperature rises to 1.5C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The YouGov poll of 3,305 people found that the environment and climate change was behind the cost-of-living crisis, economy and health for the things people thought the Government should prioritise the most.
But a majority of people (58%) thought the Government had done too little to tackle climate change over the past year, compared to just 8% who thought ministers had done too much, and 15% who suggested they had done the right amount.
Some 40% of those quizzed who voted Conservative in 2019 thought the Government had done too little in the past year, and in general, on climate change, compared to 14% who thought they had done too much.
Questioned on the Government’s target to achieve net zero by 2050 and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, overall 47% of people said the Government was not committed to the goal, while 19% thought it was.
The poll also revealed that 37% thought the UK was doing too little to support poorer countries tackle climate change, while 19% thought Britain was doing about the right amount and just 14% thought it was doing too much.
Graham Gordon, Cafod’s head of public policy, said: “The reality of the climate crisis is already here. In the UK, our summer saw 40C heat and even now in winter, we’ve had temperatures hit 20C.”
But he warned that elsewhere in the world the consequences of climate change have been “deadly”.
He said: “There is a devastating drought in East Africa leaving millions on the brink of famine and deadly floods in Pakistan which have wrecked communities and taken many lives.
“It has become painfully clear the Government’s knee-jerk reaction to pursue more fossil fuels will not only cause more devastation, but it’s against the public wishes too.”