CAST launches with new research findings on public opinion on climate change

We are pleased to officially launch the CAST Centre today with a special event held at Cardiff University. In this short video Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh describes why CAST is needed and what we aim to achieve.

To coincide with the launch, new findings have been released from research carried out in August 2019 assessing the public perceptions of climate change in the UK.

A total of 2,018 people were surveyed, which revealed that the urgency of climate change was recognised by the majority of respondents.

  • More than three out of five people (62%) said that addressing climate change requires a ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ level of urgency
  • A majority (61%) supported the UK Parliament’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’, with only 11% opposing this.
  • Two-thirds of people (67%) felt that we should limit air travel in order to address climate change, whereas only 22% felt we do not need to do so.
  • Just over half of the respondents (53%) were of the view that we should reduce the amount of meat in our diets to address climate change, whereas 37% felt we do not need to do so.

The full briefing paper, Public opinion in a time of climate emergency, is available to download here.

Professor Whitmarsh writes:

“Our new survey findings make clear that most people feel climate change is an urgent issue, and are willing to make significant changes to their own lifestyles to help tackle it. Changing travel and food habits are amongst the most impactful thing individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint – it’s very encouraging that there’s support amongst the public for making these changes.”

Our Centre’s aims have also been praised by climate activist Greta Thunberg who, in a special recorded message, described CAST as ‘extremely important and essential’ to helping achieve the drastic changes in our lifestyles to combat the climate crisis. 

We are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Professor Jennifer Rubin, executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, said:

“This is a really important Centre to be funding because of its strong focus on developing and testing effective approaches to communicating climate change and its effects. Despite the urgent need to tackle climate change, researchers know that people rarely talk about it on a day-to-day basis – this means opportunities for meaningful dialogue and practical responses relevant to people’s everyday lives are missed.”

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