Climate change polling reveals divided nation

  • 44% of British public feel hopeful about our chances of combating climate changes, 42% do not.
  • Fewer than a third have heard of climate action success stories like renewable energy records (28%) or coal-free power (29%).

  • Success stories inspire greater positivity about the UK’s chance of fighting climate change.

Polling by ComRes released today by climate charity 10:10 has revealed that, when it comes to how we feel about climate change, the UK is a divided nation.

44% of those polled feel hopeful of the UK's ability to combat climate change compared to 42% who do not feel hopeful.

The poll also reveals a clear appetite for individuals and society as a whole to take action on climate change. 60% agree that all of society should take shared responsibility for repairing the environment, whilst 53% agree that individuals must take initiative and change their day-to-day behaviours to fight climate change.

Yet, despite a slew of milestones, fewer than a third have heard of the recent successes for climate action. Larger trends are more likely to be recognised, with 29% having heard that the UK had its first coal-free day since the industrial revolution, and 28% having heard of recent renewable electricity generation records. But far fewer have heard of recent innovations, with only 9% knowing about Scotland's first tidal power turbine generating electricity.

When presented with these success stories, significant numbers of people feel positive about the UK’s chances of combating climate change. Hearing about the UK's recent renewable energy generation records left 54% of people feeling positive about the UK’s ability to tackle climate change, with only 2% feeling negative. Similarly, 51% feel positive when presented the Scottish tidal turbine story and only 2% feel negative.

The polling was conducted as part of 10:10’s Climate Hope Day which aims to use positive climate action stories to help inspire action by the public on climate change.

Commenting on the findings Esther Griffin, Climate Hope lead at 10:10 Climate Action said:

There’s no doubting climate change can be terrifying, and it’s important that people recognise the scale. But 10:10 was founded on the idea that hope is also an important, powerful tool for inspiring action, and people need stories of things going right on climate change, as well as news to worry about.  

As this poll shows, we’re a pretty divided nation when it comes to how we feel about climate change. But it also shows that when people are presented with some of the amazing success of climate action, they feel more positively about our chances. We should be shouting these stories from the rooftops so we can galvanize the climate action we both desperately need and, as this poll shows, the public want to see.


Data from the ComRes poll is available for download:

For further information and requests for interviews: Daniel Jones, press and profile officer,  0207 388 6688.

Notes to editors:

  • 10:10 brings communities together to take practical action on climate change

  • ComRes interviewed 2009 British adults 18+ online between the 23rd and 25th of June 2017. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of the population as a whole. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (