Majority in Wales say lifestyle changes needed to address climate change, new survey finds
A majority of people believe that substantial changes to the way we live will need to be made to address climate change, a new government survey has found.
1,149 Welsh participants took part in the public opinion poll, which was carried out online between September and October 2020.
While 86% of those who took part in the survey admitted they are concerned about climate change, only 15% of respondents thought that it would affect their local area ‘a great deal’.
Nearly half of participants, 42%, recognised that climate change could impact their local area ‘to some extent’, reflecting the recent Climate Change Committee report which unearthed the urgent and widespread climate related risks Wales now faces.
However 84% believe that the way we live our lives needs to substantially change to address the climate emergency, with 81% reported to be already minimising their food waste or were likely to do so.
84% said they would like to see even less food being wasted, less packaging and increased recycling. .
In terms of lifestyle changes over the next few decades, reducing meat and dairy consumption by half was perceived to be the least likely change to occur, with 44% of respondents reporting that would be somewhat or extremely likely.
Buying habits, such as purchasing fewer items and using items for longer, had similar percentages of respondents for both likely (37%) and unlikely (36%).
Energy efficiency measures were perceived as the change most likely to occur over the next few decades.
Around half said carbon emission Net Zero would be better for the economy and 80% also supported the UK’s commitment of reaching Net Zero by 2050 and most would like to see a range of behaviour changes to reach this.
A report released yesterday by the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) highlighted the impacts global warming of 1.5C would have.
It found that “human activity” is driving climate change, increasing the risks of extreme events such as flooding, wildfires, extreme heatwaves and droughts.
However “strong and sustained reductions” in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would help to limit climate change.
The bulk of participants in the government survey believed that a Net Zero emissions future would be better for their wellbeing [77%] and health [80%].
The Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “In Wales we look out for each other, so I have no doubt in our ability to unite in big and bold actions to fight the climate emergency.
“Reaching Net Zero by 2050 will require decisive action over the next ten years, meaning government, businesses and communities coming together to change the way we eat, shop, travel and heat our homes.
“Whilst there will be up-front costs in taking action, the long-term financial and wellbeing costs of doing nothing will be significantly higher. We know climate change will impact all of our communities, with floods in Wales predicted to become even more frequent and drastic than the last two years we have experienced.
“We mustn’t feel overwhelmed by the actions we take today to invest in our future. A Net Zero Wales will look healthier, happier and more prosperous for us and our children and grandchildren, and all generations that follow.”
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