Survey reveals Britons’ support for climate legislation

A substantial majority of Britons believe the UK should both remain in the Paris climate change agreement and retain the Climate Change Act, a new survey shows. 

Taormina By Mariocutroneo

The 43rd G7 summit is being held on May 26–27 in Taormina, Sicily. Image: Mariocutroneo, creative commons licence

The poll findings come as speculation mounts as to whether or not the Trump administration will move to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement. A decision is expected shortly after this weekend’s G7 Summit in Sicily. 

Two-thirds of Britons (66 percent) say that the UK should remain part of the Paris Agreement, as opposed to 16 percent who say it should leave. Sixty nine percent say that Parliament should retain the UK Climate Change Act, against 11 percent who said it should be repealed.

Commenting, former environment minister Richard Benyon said that the findings were in line with other polls showing strong British support for constructive legislation to address the risks posed by climate change.

“It’s heartening, but not surprising, to see yet more evidence that Britons support action on climate change,” he said.

“Surveys consistently show both that the general public supports climate laws, and that people strongly back measures to tackle climate change, like investing in renewable sources of energy. Cross-party support for, and action on climate change, has also been key to developing British leadership on this issue, something which voters want us to maintain as we leave the European Union.

“These are important facts to remember when lone voices claim in the media that Britain should repeal the Climate Change Act or quit the Paris Agreement. To do so would be neither in the wishes, nor in the interests, of the British people.”

Richard Benyon was MP for Newbury from 2005 until this month’s dissolution of Parliament and is a candidate in next month’s General Election.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) agreed on the significance of the support for climate laws.

“In the post-EU referendum context we’re hearing a lot about the ‘will of the people’ for Brexit – but interestingly, some of the individuals ploughing that furrow most strongly are also those calling for Britain to pull out of the Paris Agreement and scrap the Climate Change Act,” he said.

“Though Boris might disagree, you can’t have your cake and eat it: if you back ‘the will of the people’, you must now, after these results, back the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act, because a substantial majority of Britons support both.  

“Climate change is going to be centre stage for the G7 summit this weekend, and one presumes that the Prime Minister will, when she discusses it with President Trump, be highlighting the recently-expressed will of both the British and American peoples to see climate change kept under control.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,650 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th - 9th May 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full results are available here