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Climate Emotions

Government opinion tracker shows levels of climate concern remain high in 2023

21 September 2023

Government climate opinion tracker data shows that concern about climate change remains very high in the UK in 2023:

  • The majority of people (81%) said they were at least fairly concerned about climate change in summer 2023, with no significant change in overall levels of concern since Winter 2022 and Spring 2023 (82%). In Summer 2023, 40% said they were very concerned and 4% said they were not at all concerned.
  • There has been a slow but steady decline in overall concern since Autumn 2021, and a steady increase in the proportion of people saying they were not very or not at all concerned – but the overall trend is continuing high concern.

There were also some important differences between segments of the population:

  •  Concern about climate change was higher for women (85%, compared with 78% of men)
  • Concern was higher for people educated to degree level (88%, compared with 82% of those with other qualifications and 70% of people with no qualifications).
  • The proportion of those ‘very concerned’ about climate change was higher among those aged over 65 (46%) and lower among those aged 16 to 24 (34%) and those aged 35 to 44 (33%).

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The latest from the Climate Emotions timeline:

Climate Barometer Tracker 24th January 2024

Tracker data: The youngest and the poorest are most worried about climate and wellbeing

Climate Barometer data shows that while overall only around 16% of the public say they are worried that climate change will impact their ‘mental health and wellbeing’ over the next ten years, a closer look tells us a more nuanced story.

In line with an abundance of research showing young people have among the highest climate anxiety, the data shows a clear link between age and worry about mental health and wellbeing, with older groups much less concerned than younger groups.

Looking at the same question by income bands, those earning the least (under £5000 per year) are most likely to worry that climate change will affect their mental health and wellbeing, underscoring the connections between income, cost of living pressures,  and vulnerability to climate impacts.

Media Insight 15th November 2023

Reuters Institute report: UK audiences prefer climate coverage focused on ‘solutions’

The Reuters Institute for Journalism, at the University of Oxford, has released a report (following a similar analysis in 2022) analysing how people in eight countries – Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Pakistan, the UK, and the USA – access news and information about climate change in 2023.

UK audiences (in line with those in other countries) rate ‘solutions focused’ climate news as the type of news they are most interested in, supporting the idea that there’s a need to balance the (necessary) focus on the risks and threat of climate change with reporting that signposts or highlights solutions to problems, as well as the problems themselves.

The Local Storytelling Exchange, grounded in solutions-focused regional reporting from around the UK, exists to address this need, showing ‘this is what the transition looks like’ through relatable stories that aim to build a sense of agency (which climate stories which only focus on risks and threats, can undermine).

  • Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
  • Date: 14th November 2023
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