A NEW report has found that more than a third of the British public believe climate change is the most serious problem of our time – ahead of any other global issue such as war, conflict, poverty or economic recession.
In the study by Vattenfall people in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, France and the United Kingdom answered a survey about the emotions they experience in relation to climate change.
Three quarters of respondents in the UK admitted to being ‘worried’ about climate change and 39 percent identified with the feeling of anxiety.
Across the country, respondents felt that businesses and governments are expected to lead on climate change and are seen as the actors most able to slow it down.
The report also analysed people’s perceptions of media coverage related to climate change and over a third of respondents in the UK (38%) indicated that they want to see and read more positive stories about what is being done to combat climate change.
This suggests that people would like more evidence of steps that others are taking to inspire action in themselves.
American psychologist Renee Lertzman, who was consulted for the report, said: “A balanced conversation on climate change, allows for all responses. We can be both vulnerable and scared, and brave and activated.
“A balanced public conversation allows us to acknowledge the full spectrum of these responses.
“We no longer have to choose between feeling afraid or feeling inspired.
“We no longer have to play the ping-pong game between hope, optimism and despair.
“We can hold both and many more of these truths together, knowing that our attempts to put our feelings and responses into boxes is set-up for failure.
“It is clear that our emotions towards climate change have passed a tipping point in society.”
Furthermore, more than a third (39%) of UK respondents feel “hopeful we will be able to stop climate change”, the highest number across all countries surveyed.
From this, it can be inferred that the UK population is the most optimistic about finding a solution to climate change.
Magnus Hall, President and CEO, Vattenfall, commented on the findings: “As a company that produces and supplies energy, our ability to make an impact is considerable and this report highlights that.
“We are fully committed, throughout our entire 20,000-person business, to make fossil free living possible within one generation and to help partners and industries to electrify transports and processes and thereby replace fossil fuels.”