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Cost of Living

Ipsos polling: Voters have an appetite for helping the environment alongside concerns about affordability

06 August 2023

Ipsos MORI polling – August 2023

In a poll of around 1000 people in early August, 2023, 51% said they’d like to do more to reduce climate change and help the environment, but that they couldn’t afford to.

The same survey found that people think that the economic costs of climate change itself will be greater than the cost of measures to reduce climate change (by 41% – 22%)

In the contrast between these two responses, a lot is revealed: whilst people want to do more, cost-of-living pressures put restrictions on this.

But there is an acknowledgement that tackling climate change is less expensive than not tackling it.

Policies that reduce the upfront costs of new technologies like heat pumps (through government subsidies or as uptake grows and prices fall) can help to square this circle, and are a crucial aspect of positioning climate policy as fair for voters.

Reference article:

The latest from the Cost of Living timeline:

Opinion Insight 21st February 2024

Survey: Three quarters of the public are worried about the impact of climate change on their bills

In a survey of 2000 people carried out by Opinium, on behalf of Positive Money, 75% of UK adults were concerned about the impact of climate change on the cost of heating or cooling their home, while 69% were worried about the impact of grocery prices, 54% on the price of housing or rent, 74% on electricity costs, 68% on the cost of water and 59% on transport costs.

These concerns about ‘climateflation’ show that the perceived impacts of climate change are not confined to changes in the weather (although these are becoming more noticeable to people too).

Climate Barometer data backs this up – concern about the impact of climate change on household bills was the third most common choice behind ‘harm to nature and wildlife’ and ‘suffering and hardship for the world’s poorest’.

Separate analysis investigating the cost of ‘not zero‘ (i.e. not pursuing net zero goals fast enough) by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) supports people’s concerns: households really are facing higher bills because of a lack of action on climate change. Their calculations reveal that cumulative savings of £70bn on the UK’s energy bill could have been made had investments happened over past decade.

The Positive Money report emphasises that these climate-linked costs are disproportionately felt by lower income households.

Climate Barometer Tracker 10th November 2023

Tracker data: Majority of public think climate inaction will cost too much

Despite having concerns about the costs of climate change, and the cost of living, people in the UK have a clear understanding of the trade-offs necessary for climate action. Despite minor shifts, a majority still feel that it will cost too much *not* to tackle climate change now. A smaller percentage (23% in our most recent wave)  say that “it will cost too much to tackle climate change now”.

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