As attention on the climate crisis intensifies ahead of COP26, new research shows that more than two out of three British parents (69 per cent) believe that climate change poses a threat to their children’s future. Only 15 per cent believed it didn’t pose a threat, whilst 38 per cent admitted to worrying about climate change more since becoming a parent.
More than two-thirds of people (67 per cent) surveyed believed climate change posed a threat to the future of the human race.
When asked what concerned them about climate change, most parents (54 per cent) cited extreme weather as a concern. Poor air quality, rising sea levels, and issues around food security all featured as concerns for at least a third of parents surveyed.
The survey was commissioned by Action Against Hunger and conducted online by Atomik Research using a representative sample of 1001 adults. The fieldwork took place between 28-29th September 2021.
Action Against Hunger’s Head of Advocacy, Kate Munro, said:
“What we are experiencing today is just the tip of the iceberg. Undoubtedly, it will be our children, and our children’s children, who pay the heaviest price. We must turn this ship around if future generations are to avoid a catastrophe.
“These results show that climate change isn’t an issue that only ‘crusties’ like me care about. The vast majority of parents are genuinely concerned and want to see the UK government doing more”
The UK Government must do more
A staggering 71 per cent of parents believe the UK Government should strengthen laws to prevent climate change (14 per cent disagreed), whilst the majority (57 per cent) believed richer countries should pay to support poorer countries in adapting to climate change (22 per cent disagreed).
Despite the UK’s role as president of the forthcoming COP26 conference, recent government decisions have called into question the UK’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change on a global scale.
According to the Foreign Office’s annual report 2020-21, “thematic spending on climate and environment” has fallen from £330m last year to £214m in the current financial year.
Alongside wider cuts, countries that are suffering the impacts of climate change have experienced drastic reductions in UK assistance. The Sahel region, which runs from Senegal in the West to Eritrea in the East, is trapped in a climate driven cycle of droughts and flooding that has decimated agricultural populations, forced migration, and exacerbated instability. In 2020/21 the region received £61 million in UK support; in 2021/22 that funding dropped to just £23 million- a cut of more than 60 per cent.
Similarly, Somalia faces a cut in overseas aid of more than 40 per cent, whilst South Sudan, which is currently reeling from flooding that has displaced more than 600,000 people, has seen its budget halved (£135m to £68m).
Even deeper cuts to the aid budget are expected as the Government plans to finance its pledge of £11.6 billion in climate financing through the overseas development budget (ODA).
Kate Munro, Head of Advocacy at Action Against Hunger, says:
“If the UK government is serious about leading on climate change it must reconsider its decision to slash aid to millions of people at the coalface of this crisis. The recently announced climate finance package will see even deeper cuts to the aid budget, meaning that those who are suffering the most will be effectively picking up the tab.
“Drastic emissions cuts are vital, but investment is also needed to support those people trapped on the frontlines of this crisis. Mothers in Madagascar are already living under the spectre of a climate-induced famine, and emissions targets aren’t going to fill their children’s bellies.
“Between 2010 and 2017 a person living at the forefront of this crisis received the equivalent of just $20 a year in support. This is despite the fact that the majority of climate disaster related deaths occurred in fragile and conflict-affected countries.”
Action Against Hunger’s life-saving work on malnutrition and climate change is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.