Heatwave poll: 70% say climate change driving heat

Majority of public align with scientists on climate change as driver of heatwave.

Profile picture of George Smeeton

By George Smeeton


Last updated:

The vast majority of Britons (70%) align with scientists in viewing climate change as a driver of the recent unprecedented temperatures in the UK. Only 17% think it is not a factor.

Three-quarters (76%) of the public report they are worried about climate change and half (51%) say the heat wave makes them think governments and societies need to be more ambitious in tackling climate change. Just 8% think we should do less as a result.

Only 13% of people think we should focus mostly on trying to adapt to climate change. A total of three-quarters (75%) say we either should focus mostly on cutting emissions of both cutting emissions and adapting.

More than two-thirds (68%) think we should be taking the recent heat wave seriously as a threat to health and transport systems and especially to vulnerable and elderly people. Just 24% of people thought the recent heat wave was not serious.

Gareth Redmond-King, International Lead for the Energy and Climate Unit (ECIU) said:

“With TV pictures of homes on fire, a nursery burnt to the ground and Britons witnessing first-hand the tinderbox conditions in unprecedented heat, they are clearly connecting these events with climate change.

“They see this as serious and dismiss the idea that we can just adapt to these conditions. Many people will be looking to the new Prime Minister for leadership on climate, because without reaching net zero emissions these conditions will continue to get worse.”

Recent polling showed 64% of UK voters support the UK’s net zero commitment – seven times the share (9%) that oppose it. [1]

Notes to editor

Notes to editor

  1. Polling for Onward, April 2022: https://www.ukonward.com/reports/taking-the-temperature/
  1. The polling was by Opinium of 2,000 GB Adults, weighted to be politically and nationally representative, from 18 - 19 July 2022.

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net