There’s a feeling among the tax paying consumer that climate change is being over-hyped and was exaggerated to make money. A significant number have many doubts about exactly how serious it really is.
A Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults – interviewed between 14 and 20 June – found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change. The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change.
Ipsos Mori’s head of environmental research, Phil Downing, said the research showed there was “still a lot to do” in encouraging “low-carbon lifestyles”.
Royal Society vice-president Sir David Read said: “People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change.”
The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth dedicated to promoting excellence in science. They have a section entitled ‘Climate change controversies: a simple guide’. The guide looks at eight key arguments that are currently in circulation by setting out, in simple terms, where the weight of scientific evidence lies.
Behind this poll are a general public feeling, rightly, sceptical about climate change because it’s complex and they’re having to rely on scientists (another bunch of ‘experts’) telling them whats what. Add to that the head of steam that’s building up around another set of taxes, this time green taxes (and note that parking charges & fines are now lumped into this category) and it is not at all surprising that the public are on the defensive.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown needs to realise quite quickly that green taxes need to influence environment behaviour but not add to the overall burden of taxation for individuals. Those that take the environment message seriously could even see their tax burden fall.
If there’s a revolt at the polls over green taxes and environment measures in general, then the UK will have lost its momentum to make positive changes for the environment.