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Public say politicians must do better on climate change

Mass ‘I Count’ Event on Saturday 4th November To Stop Climate Chaos

Despite Prime Minister Tony Blair’s claim that Europe must lead the way on conversion to a low carbon economy at last week’s EU energy summit, the public have given him a thumbs down on his record of achievement on the issue, according to a new survey published by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition. Only 4% of the population think he has made effective progress on the issue whilst in office, whilst  nearly 90% claim to take small steps themselves to reduce their own carbon emissions. The survey revealed  two thirds of the population are concerned about climate change, and over 40% claim climate change policies would influence their vote.  Political action on climate change will be demanded by thousands who will gather on Saturday 4th November at London’s Trafalgar Square 1pm - 3pm for an ‘I Count’ campaign event - on the eve of crucial global climate change talks in Nairobi. 

The survey, undertaken by TNS Omnimas throughout Great Britain, serves as the most recent barometer on a range of personal and political attitudes towards climate change.  Results revealed that generally, David Cameron (with 21 %) is perceived as the senior politician most concerned about the issue, followed by Tony Blair (15 %), Menzies Campbell (7%) and Gordon Brown (5%).  Of the 40% who claimed their vote would be influenced by climate change policies, the differences were more marked with Cameron (32%) again identified as the most concerned about climate change, Blair (18%) second, Campbell (8%) third and finally Brown (4%). 

Although Tony Blair’s record of achievement was considered disappointing, nearly a third of those surveyed identified tackling the issue as the most important lasting legacy he could leave before he stands down next year, and over half those questioned thought that avoiding climate chaos was achievable.

“This survey should be guaranteed reading for all politicians wanting to connect with their electorate and demonstrates that climate change has significantly risen up the political agenda. Public concern about climate change is enormous, and I’m encouraged that nine out of ten take small steps to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But public action is not enough and we will be urging politicians to take action too at our ‘I Count’ event at London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday November 4th.”
Ashok Sinha, Director, Stop Climate Chaos.

Stop Climate Chaos launched their I Count campaign on Wednesday 11th October unveiling a 4ft ice sculpture of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s head encased around a first edition of Penguin book, ‘I Count: A Step by Step Guide to Climate Bliss’.  People concerned about climate change are being encouraged to sign up online (www.icount.org.uk) or by texting ‘I Count’ to 84424 and to turn up at  Trafalgar Square on Saturday November 4th. Thousands are expected to attend and call for global warming to be kept below 2 degrees centigrade and for the government to introduce a Climate Change Bill, in the forthcoming Queen’s speech, to control the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The survey also revealed some clear regional variations within the UK. The results indicated London was the most strongly influenced by politician’s views and policies on climate change, with half those surveyed claiming it would affect their voting behavior. Londoners were also the most positive about the ability to stop climate chaos with 61% perceiving it achievable.  This contrasted with the South West (with 38%) who though most active on reducing emissions, conveyed the least optimism.  

People in the North East showed most concern about climate change in the UK (77%), followed closely by Wales (76%), with Scotland (59%) demonstrating the least.  In terms of personal action, more people in the West Midlands (95%) and South West (also 95%) took steps to reduce carbon emissions amongst regions in the UK. This contrasts with London (80%) and the South East (80%) who demonstrated the least personal action. 

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1 Notes to Editors:
For further information contact:
Alison Blower Stop Climate chaos Media Coordinator
Email: [email protected] Tel: 020 7729 8732 Mob: 07967 698928
2 SCC members include: A Rocha, ActionAid, ACTSA, Airport Watch, BMS world Mission, CAFOD, Campaign against Climate Change, Carplus, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, From Greenhouse to Green House, Garden Organic, Greenpeace, Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Medact, Operation Noah, Oxfam,  People & Planet, Plan B, Practical Action,  Road Block, RSPB,  Save our World, Speak, Surfers Against Sewage, Sustrans, Tearfund, UNISON, The Wildlife Trusts, Take Global Warming Seriously, Transport 2000, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, UNA, UNISON, Women’s Environment Network, Woodland Trust, World Development Movement and WWF.

3 The I Count Campaign calls on the UK government to provide:-
• action internationally: ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions are irreversibly declining by 2015 so that global warming is kept below the danger threshold of 2 degC’.
• action for justice: deliver assistance to developing countries to adapt to climate change and give access to clean energy to meet their developmental needs.
• action in the UK: introduce a Climate Bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 3% per year. 

4. Survey results and information available on request and further regional breakdown.

5 Full line up for November 4th to be announced shortly.