Global warming a concern but carbon taxes are unpopular, survey shows
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and ICM Unlimited poll surveyed 2,009 people, finding 57% were concerned about global warming, with 14% claiming to be ‘very worried’ about it. Almost two thirds (64%) said they believe it’s already a problem, with 70% saying it will be in 20 years.
The poll showed 63% of respondents were concerned about flooding and sea level rises, both of which the UK is susceptible to, while hurricanes and cyclones (60%) and droughts and water shortages (53%) were also popular issues.
However, only 48% of those surveyed said there should be tax penalties on products which cause more pollution and carbon emissions, and the majority of those (32% of the total) believe it should only be on really heavy polluters. Of the 52% not in favour of tax penalties, half said the manufacturers of the products should pay, not the consumer.
A quarter of respondents said switching to low-carbon energy sources was the most effective way to combat man-made climate change, while encouraging public transport ranked as the least popular option, at 2% of the total.
Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the results: “Since the 2008 economic crash, climate change has drifted down the political agenda. But these results show that it is an issue that still worries the majority of people.
“With the UN climate change talks in Paris just four months away and speculation mounting over cuts to public spending, Government needs to clarify how the UK will meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets. The cheapest options for energy generally remain the high carbon options. It’s therefore an unfortunate reality that reducing spending will mean increasing emissions.
“By allowing the market to drive energy options, we could end up with the ‘worst case’ in terms of pollution. It is important that the Government works with experts across the sector to understand the most appropriate market intervention and regulation to achieve real reductions in CO2.”