EXCLUSIVE: Over half of voters think COP26 summit won’t make a positive difference to climate change

The poll found that 51% of UK adults think that the COP26 summit will not make a positive difference to climate change

COP26

A majority of voters don’t think the upcoming COP26 summit will make a positive difference to climate change, exclusive polling for LFF can reveal.

The poll, carried out by Savanta:ComRes, found that 51% of UK adults think that the COP26 summit will not make a positive difference to climate change, compared to 31% who thought that it would make a positive difference. 17% of those asked said that they did not know.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has called the COP26 summit the world’s ‘last best hope’ to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and the summit is viewed by many as a critical moment in the fight against it. To have a chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, global emissions must halve by 2030 and reach ‘net-zero’ by 2050. The recent 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said it was still possible to achieve the 1.5-degree-target but only if unprecedented action is taken now. 200 countries are being asked at the summit for their plans to cut emissions by 2030.

The polling showed that among those aged 65 and over, 67% of those asked think the COP26 summit will not make a positive difference to climate change, the figure dropped to 32% when it came to 18-24 year olds who think the same. The 18-24 group were by the far most optimistic age group when it comes to those who think the summit will make a positive difference, at 47%.

41% of Londoners think that COP26 summit will not make a positive difference compared to 57% of those from Yorkshire and the Humber.

When it came to party affiliation, 56% of Conservative Party voters think the COP26 summit will not make a positive difference, as do 54% of Labour and Lib Dem voters.

Commenting on the poll findings, former Green Party leader Baroness Bennett said: “Far too many people – including Boris Johnson – have been treating COP26 as a binary proposition, a success or failure, red light or green. But these two weeks are part of an immensely complex process, occurring in every nation on this planet.

“We need as strong as possible a result out of COP, in terms of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), often described as the “ambition” agenda, climate finance for the global south and reparations for the damage inflicted on it, technical agreements on the Paris rulebooks.

“But whatever the outcome, the world has collectively now truly grasped we are in a climate emergency. The people are leading that understanding, businesses are running behind, and governments are a poor third.

“System change not climate change is the slogan, but also the necessity. COP26 can’t deliver that – only people driving their governments to change can.”

Baroness Jenny Jones said: “COP26 will take us inching forward when we need to be taking giant strides like a carbon tax and the New Green Deal.

“The public know that our leaders still aren’t doing enough, but when human survival is at stake we need to change that and inject some positive ideas. COP26 could make the difference between the future being bad and disastrous, so every change we can make is important.”

Representative poll of 2258 GB adults. Prepared by Savanta: ComRes. The question asked was ‘To what extent do you think that the COP26 climate summit next month will, or will not, make a positive difference to climate change?’

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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