How we see ourselves and others, makes for an interesting read

7th Oct 2019


A recent YouGov study of 30,000 people across 28 countries uncovered some interesting differences in attitude towards climate change. I’ve picked out a couple of data points that show just how much of a challenge Net Zero may be.

One interesting feature of European responses, was that countries tended to blame themselves more than others did. Guilty complex of the West I suspect. For example, when asked, “Which countries do you think had the most negative impact on global warming and climate change?” 13 per cent of us Brits said GB, whereas just 1 per cent of the French thought it was GB, compared to 11 per cent themselves; 4 per cent of Germans blamed GB compared to 16 per cent themselves and no Italian blamed GB, but 21 per cent blamed Italy.

When asked if they ‘personally could be doing more’, across Europe it was close to evens compared to ‘doing as much as they reasonably can’. For GB, 49 per cent could do more, 42 per cent were doing as much as reasonable already.

Asked how much power bodies had to combat climate change, 82 per cent of Brits said business and industry had a great deal or fair amount of power, compared to just 43 per cent who said individuals.

And when asked how much of an impact climate change is likely to have on them, 58 per cent of Brits said a great deal or fair amount, compared to 30 per cent who said little or no impact.

So what does this all mean?  Firstly that there is an appreciation that the UK needs to do something, although no more or less than our European neighbours. Secondly, that business and industry is seen as the biggest problem area whereas in reality it is consumption of their products and services that is. Only half of respondents were willing to reduce consumption themselves according to the poll. Thirdly, how the debate is framed is important. If a third of the population doesn’t think there will be a problem for them, citing self-interest and sacrifice will not work.

Framing the debate correctly needs careful consideration, future generations may blame us if we get it wrong, but based on the polling, at least the Italians won’t.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO