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Almost half of UK adults believe earlier climate action would have cut bills

Exclusive: Poll finds that 46 per cent of adults believe bills including food, fuel and energy would not be as high today if earlier action had been taken to tackle climate change

Saphora Smith
Climate Correspondent
Wednesday 30 November 2022 16:39 GMT
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Almost half of UK adults believe household bills would be lower than they are now if action to tackle the climate crisis had happened sooner, a YouGov poll has found.

As food and energy bills soar in the UK, the survey found that 46 per cent of adults believe bills including food, fuel and energy would not be as high as they are today if earlier action had been taken to limit global heating.

The research found that 58 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 were more likely to agree with that statement compared to 38 per cent of those aged 55 or over.

The research was commissioned by Business in the Community, a network dedicated to responsible business founded in 1982 with the then-Prince of Wales, Charles, as its royal patron.

It asked adults if they have access to affordable and sustainable food, transport and energy, with 31 per cent of UK adults responding yes for transport, and 43 per cent for energy.

Fewer than 40 per cent of those in the less wealthy socio-economic grouping responded yes for food, compared to 46 per cent of those in the wealthier grouping.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused energy prices and the price of fertiliser to soar. This combined with extreme weather hitting food supplies has driven up food prices.

Food inflation has now hit 12.4 per cent, a new high since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) records began in 2005.

Environmentalists say cheap, clean renewables offer the path away from burning expensive fossil fuels that are causing global temperatures to rise. This would also bring down household bills.

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The new research comes as Business in the Community published a new manifesto calling on businesses and policymakers to help reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and address the cost of living crisis. That’s 20 years earlier than the government has pledged to reach net zero by 2050.

Gudrun Cartwright, climate action director of Business in the Community, said the research shows people understand that there is a direct link between climate change and the rising cost of living.

“Acting on climate change is not just about preserving our planet for future generations,” she said. “It is also about building the infrastructure, skills and support systems to bring the cost of bills down and support people who are struggling to make ends meet today.”

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