Most Britons don't believe climate change is man-made

Only two out of five British voters believe that climate change is real and is caused by human activity, according to a new poll.


Only two out of five British voters believe that climate change is real and is caused by human activity, according to a new poll.


Around a quarter of those questioned (28 per cent) by pollsters Populus for The Times agreed that climate change is "far and away" the most serious problem facing Britain, while a further 51 per cent said it was a serious problem, but not as serious as other issues.


The findings threaten to undermine Gordon Brown's position at next month's UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, when he will push for international agreement to cut carbon emissions.


Brown's hand in negotiations will be weakened if other countries think that he does not enjoy solid public support at home for his stance on global warming.


Some 41 per cent of those taking part in the poll agreed that it has been established that climate change is largely due to human activity. Around a third (32 per cent) agreed that global warming is happening, but said it had not yet been proven to be man-made.


Climate change denial theories were shown to have very little support among the population, with just 8 per cent describing the view that global warming is man-made as environmentalist propaganda and 15 per cent saying that it is not happening at all.


The poll showed an increase in support for new air travel taxes to cut carbon emissions, with 57 per cent in favour and 40 per cent against, compared to a 50 per cent-46 per cent split in a similar poll in 2006.


There was opposition to increases in the overall cost of motoring on environmental grounds, by a margin of 53 per cent to 44 per cent. But a large majority - 68 per cent against 29 per cent - said that much higher taxes should be imposed on gas-guzzling vehicles.


A very large majority - 87 per cent to 11 per cent - supported new building regulations to require high standards of insulation and use of renewable energy, even if it increases the cost of homes.


Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "The overwhelming body of scientific information is stacked up against the deniers and shows us that climate change is man-made and is happening now. We know that we still have a way to go in informing people about climate change and that is why we make no apologies about pushing forward with our new Act on CO2 campaign. But it's not just the deniers we need to tackle, the defeatists must also be challenged.


"The truth is that cutting our emissions and shifting to a low carbon economy will bring benefits to Britain by increasing our energy security and opening the door to new green jobs and business opportunities as well as a cleaner and greener environment."

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