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Perception Gaps

Tracker data: Gap in perceived support for local wind and solar

05 October 2023

Climate Barometer Tracker data across three waves shows consistent public support for local renewable projects. The  public are positive towards the prospect of new solar parks and onshore wind farms being built in their area, with greater than 70% support for both.

However, people – and their MPs – underestimate the actual public support for both initiatives, and overestimate opposition to them. This shows that MPs continue to misperceive public opinion in relation to renewable energy projects, and illustrates the stickiness of ‘not in my backyard‘ assumptions despite evidence to the contrary.

The latest from the Perception Gaps timeline:

From the Climate Community 22nd February 2024

Video: People want climate action so why don’t politicians get it?

Climate Barometer’s Adam Corner created a short video talking about perception gaps, in collaboration with ‘Need to Know UK and VideoRev. 

Opinion Insight 12th February 2024

Global study shows climate perception gaps are prevalent around the world

A new survey of nearly 130,000 people across 125 countries has found that there is widespread support for climate action around the world. But, people often don’t realise how much support there is.

The open access article, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, presents new, large-scale evidence of a global mandate for climate action, while shining a light on the pervasiveness of climate ‘perception gaps’. The headline findings across the global dataset show that:

  • 89% demand intensified political action.
  • 86% endorse the pro-climate ‘social norm’ that people in their country should try to fight global warming. 
  • Strikingly, 69% of the global population expresses a willingness to contribute 1% of their personal income. 

However, this ‘actual’ support for climate action was at a mismatch with what people ‘perceived’ the levels of support to be. Around the world, people “systematically underestimate the willingness of their fellow citizens to act”.

And these discrepancies matter. If we don’t believe there’s a mandate for green policies, inertia slows the pace of the green transition. ‘Perception gaps’ like these have consequences.

  • Source: Nature
  • Authors: Peter Andre, Teodora Boneva, Felix Chopra & Armin Falk
  • Date: 9th February 2024
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