Winter floods lead to sharp fall in climate change scepticism

Attitude change is most dramatic on record

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The Independent Online

Last winter’s floods have changed the way the nation thinks about climate change, researchers say.

Large groups of the population have become less sceptical about global warming after the floods which submerged regions for weeks.

Before the rains, 17 per cent of the population were climate sceptics. But afterwards, this proportion fell by almost a quarter to 13 per cent, a study by Cardiff University finds.

Over the same period, the proportion of people who think humans are either mainly or entirely responsible for climate change has risen to 36 per cent of the population.

The changes in attitudes are far more dramatic than for any equivalent period since records on UK public perceptions of climate change began 10 years ago.


Professor Nick Pidgeon, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said beaming the images of the damage caused by the flooding into households seems to have had an effect on the country’s environmental mindset.

“Many ordinary people in Britain view these events as a sign of things to come,” he said. “These events were so significant in relation to the environment and climate change they  have had an impact on people. Something unique happened 12 months ago and we mustn’t forget that.”