This November, the UK is hosting the 26th meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Ahead of this, we wanted to explore public attitudes to past, present and future climate change damage, with a focus on the views of Conservative voters.
- There is little evidence of a left-right ‘culture war’ on the environment: both sides strongly support action, and denialism is completely fringe. But support for the type of action does vary on political lines.
- 26 percent of Conservatives have “definitely” or “likely” seen their home or garden damaged by climate change. 65 percent say they have seen the effects of climate damage globally, while 56 percent say they have seen damage in the UK.
- 74 percent of Conservatives voters think the UK should play a leading role in the conference; 67 percent think the conference will be a big test of the Prime Minister’s leadership; and 46 percent think it will affect how they vote at the next election. A further 46 percent say that COP26 will have an impact on the lives ordinary Brits.
- There is a ‘British bounce’ among Tory voters for UK leadership on the climate crisis. This effect vanishes for Labour voters, who tend to support action on the same levels whether it is framed in the UK or the global context. This 'British bounce’ is so strong that Conservative voters become even more likely than Labour supporters to back climate action.
In response, we are calling for a ‘carbon dividend’, climate assemblies, a green transition fund, and streetby-street net zero plans.