Less than one in 25 Brits think politicians tell the truth on climate change, survey finds

Image: Diliff/ CC BY-SA 2.5 

Commissioned by renewable energy company Pure Planet and conducted by Opinium research, the survey asked 2,013 UK residents aged 18 and over which people and groups they feel give trustworthy statements and advice on climate issues – and whether they believe these actors are taking sufficient actions to back up their claims.

Just 4% of these respondents said they feel that politicians are honest about environmental topics, placing politicians only marginally ahead of celebrities (3%) in terms of perceived credibility.

More broadly, more than one-third of respondents (36%) said they would not trust any external organisation or individual to provide reliable information in this space.

Among the remaining respondents, academics (31%), campaign groups (21%) and individual activists (15%) – such as Greta Thunberg- were perceived to be the three most trustworthy sources of environmental information. Indeed, Thunberg’s entire campaign is premised around getting policy and business leaders to “tell the truth”, with similar messages being disseminated by the likes of Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace, which this month launched a campaign urging UK voters to prioritise climate action in their decision-making.

The results of the survey come after separate studies found that climate action is set to influence how the majority of UK voters make their decision on 12 December, and that most of the UK public would support the introduction of a more ambitious net-zero target.

“The public is clearly fed up with inaction and indifference from politicians when it comes to the current climate emergency, and that one in three people trusts no one on the climate is deeply worrying,” Pure Planet’s co-founder Steven Day said.

“We need the stark findings of experts on climate to be more widely understood. Politicians have this moment to capture our imaginations with inspiring, galvanising climate and environmental policies.”

Aside from politicians and celebrities, other sources deemed untrustworthy by Pure Planet’s survey respondents included influencers (5%), journalists (10%) and broadcasters (11%).

Sarah George

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