Brits support limiting air travel and meat reductions to combat climate change

More than two-thirds of the general public would support measures to limit flights and air travel in order to combat climate change, while more than half believe that reducing meat in diets should also be prioritised.

Brits support limiting air travel and meat reductions to combat climate change

22% of respondents opposed the idea of limiting flights 

A new YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people found that 67% agreed that limiting air travel was key to addressing climate change. In contrast, 22% opposed this idea. A total of 53% agreed that reducing the amount of meat consumed as part of everyday diets should be targeted, but 37% do not feel the need to do so.

The research was carried out on behalf of Cardiff University’s Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), the new UK research centre set up to examine behaviour change and attitudes towards climate mitigation.

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations said: “Our new survey findings make clear that most people feel climate change is an urgent issue, and are willing to make significant changes to their own lifestyles to help tackle it. Changing travel and food habits are amongst the most impactful thing individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint – it’s very encouraging that there’s support amongst the public for making these changes.”

The survey also noted that 61% of the public supported the UK Parliament’s declaration of a “climate emergency” and the subsequent net-zero target, with only 11% opposing that view.

CAST is a £5m centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of a collaboration between Cardiff, Manchester, York and East Anglia Universities, as well as the charity Climate Outreach.

The Centre will aim to engage the public on matters of climate change by linking mitigation responses to societal benefits such as cleaner air and improved wellbeing. A citizen’s assembly and a young people’s panel will both be established to work with the Centre.

The inclusion of the youth panel comes after Conservative MPs, Government Ministers and green business leaders came out in support of students that missed school and went on strike for the second time in the fight against climate change in March. The next round of climate strikes is set to take place between 20 and 27 September.

University challenge

The strikes are predominantly school-based, but a separate survey – also released today (18 September) – found that more than 90% of university students think more can be done by academia to be more sustainable.

The higher education company QS’s survey of more 3,500 global respondents found that 94% believe universities could do more to become environmentally sustainable, while 78% said they feel that universities are performing better in this area that other sectors such as construction and finance.

Almost eight in 10 of respondents claimed they would be more likely to choose a degree if the content was tailored to teaching them about reducing their own environmental impact.

The survey also found that nearly 60% of respondents think older generations have neglected the environment.

Matt Mace

Comments (2)

  1. Mallen Baker says:

    This is misleading. The original questionnaire questions were much more in the vein of whether the respondents think we should limit our own flying / meat eating. It did not suggest that government should impose top-down limits as is implied in the text here.

  2. Richard Snaith says:

    Do you have a link to this YouGov survey? Not that I’m skeptical or anything, but it wouldn’t be the first survey that has been wildly over interpreted. Are we sure that the survey didn’t just find that the respondents would be happy for other people to curtail their flying habits and eat less meat?

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