Public support for helping poor countries soars when informed of the consequences

The more the public knows about the impact of climate change on developing countries, the more likely they are to finance measures to support them, say the ippr

The more the public knows about the impact of climate change on developing countries, the more likely they are to finance measures to support them, an ippr survey out today has found.

Though only 16 per cent of the 3,032 people surveyed by YouGov in 157 marginal constituencies strongly or very strongly support the idea of a global climate fund, which the Prime Minister has pledged £1.5 billion towards, more than half of all those polled were more supportive when presented with the facts.

When told:

• “Forests soak up a lot of the pollution we emit. Unless we help poorer countries protect them, they will be lost forever”, 63 per cent were more supportive;

• “Climate change could cause major food shortages and drive up food prices in the UK, unless we help countries that produce a lot of food adapt to climate change”, 52 per cent were more supportive; and when informed that

• “Last year, 11 million people in East Africa – many of them children – suffered from drought, which will become much more common as climate change gets worse, unless we help”, 47 per cent were more supportive

Worringly, however, between ten and 16 per cent of respondents said they would actually be less supportive when informed of the life-threatening consequences of climate change.

Conservative voters who opposed action to help the poor outnumbered those who suppported it by 23 per cent – highlighting once more the gap between David Cameron’s rhetoric and the denial and scepticism of his supporters – while among Labour and Liberal Democrat voters net support stands at around 30 per cent.

On Sunday Left Foot forward published a poll which found that securing a deal at Copenhagen is key to winning public support for climate change measures, with the number of people willing to accept higher motoring and flying costs up from 26 per cent to 39 per cent, with the number opposed down from 64 per cent to 46 per cent.

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