Climate change has become a ‘mainstream issue’ for UK public, according to new survey ahead of ‘mass lobby’ of Parliament next week

The UK public want to see more action from politicians to tackle climate change, according to a new survey released today suggesting seven in 10 Britons wantt o see “urgent action” to protect the planet.

The survey, which was commissioned by The Climate Coalition (TCC) and GreenerUK and conducted by market research firm Opinium, questioned more than 2,000 UK adults earlier this month. 

Two-thirds of respondents agreed that the UK needs to cut carbon emissions to zero within a few decades, while three-quarters agreed science shows a clear need for action on climate change. Some 71 per cent said they were keen for their local MP to support ambitious policies geared in that direction.

Meanwhile, 81 per cent agreed that tackling climate change and protecting the natural environment are issues of concern for all generations, and two-thirds said the government urgently needs to pass a new environment bill with legally binding targets.

Drawing on this mass support, TCC and GreenerUK – which knit together 130 organisations including CAFOD, the National Trust, RSPB, WWF, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth – have organised a mass lobby of parliament to take place on June 26 to campaign for tougher green policies.

“The government’s decision to set a net zero target in law was clearly a response to calls for action from voters which have grown louder and louder in recent months,” said Clara Goldsmith, campaigns director at The Climate Coalition. “Now we need our politicians to put policies in place to deliver on that target, as well as measures to clean up the air we breathe and the plastic in our seas.”

Dubbed The Time is Now, the mass lobby is expected to involve 14,000 people representing 99 per cent of UK constitutencies, who will travel to London to congregate in the area around the Palace of Westminister. MPs will travel on rickshaws to meet their constituents and discuss their environmental concerns, the groups said. 

Rosie Harden-Vane, from the Seaton Valley Women’s Institute, plans to travel by train from Northumberland to participate in the action. “It’s a big leap for me because I have never done anything like this before and feel quite nervous,” she said in a statement. “However, if I can’t make my voice heard, I would be turning my back on the most important issue of our time.”

“If we don’t change the way we are treating our planet with immediate effect, in my lifetime (I’m 66) the decline will be irreversible. Species lost forever, homes and land lost to rising sea levels, plastic and chemicals poisoning the land, the water, plants and animals – including ourselves.”

Such calls for action echo the concerns of the world’s leading climate scientists, voiced in last year’s landmark report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It warned that humanity has only a dozen years to keep warming below 1.5 degrees, which would require  a 45 per cent reduction in emissions between 2010 and 2030, en-route to delivering a net zero world economy by 2050.

Since that report, protests urging faster cuts in emissions have gathered pace around the world, with millions of schoolchildren refusing to go to school as part of a school climate strike, and rebel protestors Extinction Rebellion staging direct action protests across the UK and beyond.