Only 45% of Scottish people believe climate change is an 'immediate and urgent' issue

Adults with a degree or professional qualification were more than twice as likely to view the issue as an immediate problem compared with those with none

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Less than half of the people in Scotland believe that climate change is an urgent issue, according to an annual survey of the country’s attitudes.

Only 45 per cent of adults in Scotland said they viewed climate change as an “immediate and urgent” concern, while 11 per cent said they doubted whether it was happening at all, the 2014 Scottish Household Survey found.

The results suggest that Scottish people’s attitudes to climate change have barely changed since the previous survey in 2013, when 46 per cent said they believed it was an urgent problem. Slightly more people described it as “more of a problem for the future” or “not really a problem” than did so the previous year.

 

The report, published yesterday by Scotland’s chief statistician, said people’s views on the urgency of climate change were “closely related to educational attainment”. Adults with a degree or professional qualification were more than twice as likely to view the issue as an immediate problem compared with those with none.

Age was also a factor, with only 40 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 saying they regarded climate change as a pressing issue. Among those aged 75 and over, the figure was just 31 per cent. Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said it was “disappointing” that more people were not alive to the immediate dangers posed by climate change.

However, he added: “It’s not entirely surprising given the times of austerity we’re in – people always focus on the most immediate thing of putting food in front of their family and whether their job is going to keep going.”

The Scottish Green Party said it was “good news” that half of the country’s population believed climate change was an urgent issue. “Despite having busy lives filled with work and family, Scottish people are looking ahead and wanting to secure a safe future for the next generation,” said Alison Johnstone, the party’s MSP for Lothian.

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