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Climate change misperceptions

Read the report

The Policy Institute conducted a study on the public’s misperceptions on climate change and environmental issues.

The study, which supports the paperback publication of The Perils of Perception: Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything  by Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute, reveals the extent to which the British public get it wrong when it comes to the challenges facing our planet.

The report finds:

  • We underestimate record-breaking global temperatures: we guess only 12 of the last 22 years are among the hottest 20 on record since 1850, when all 20 hottest years have been in the last 22 years.
  • We hugely underestimate plastic waste in the environment: we think it’s 49 per cent when it’s 79 per cent; we think that 26 per cent has been recycled when it’s only nijne per cent.
  • Only a third of people correctly guess that animal populations have declined by 60 per cent since 1970.
  • We think other people are not worried enough about climate change (73 per cent agree) BUT only 16 per cent of us say we’re not worried enough ourselves.
  • Only one in five of us (20 per cent) think it’s too late or too difficult to prevent a climate changeemergency, but we think that half of the public in general (49 per cent) believe this is the case.