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British public supportive of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, new survey reveals

A new poll by Survation of the UK public finds wide support for policies and personal changes that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


One-third (33%) of participants support the idea that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to zero by 2025

With Extinction Rebellion continuing to protest and draw attention to climate change, we decided to see whether the British public support their demand for the UK to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by 2025 instead of the current target of 2050.



The majority of participants (80%) agreed that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should be reached by 2050 at the latest. In fact, one third of the respondents (33%) even supported Extinction Rebellion’s demand to bring the target forward to 2025 in order to fight climate change. A further 31% polled stated that the target should be set between 2025 and 2050, whereas 15% agreed with the current target of the UK Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2050.

On the other hand, only 2% of respondents stressed that the target should be set for later than 2050 and 7% expressed the opinion that the targets should be dropped altogether.


Half of participants (50%) believe it’s unlikely that the UK Government will reach its net-zero emissions target by 2050



Despite nearly two thirds wanting the target to be brought forward, when asked about their opinion on how likely it was that the UK Government was going to be able to reach the 2050 target, half of the respondents believed that it was unlikely – with 31% indicating that it was ‘Quite Unlikely’ and another 19% saying that it was ‘Very Unlikely’.

On the other hand, only 4% believed that it was ‘Very likely’ and 18% ‘Quite likely’. Additionally, a significant percentage (21%) of participants didn’t have a defined inclination stating that it was ‘Neither likely nor unlikely’ and only 7% of them didn’t know.


Most respondents willing to make personal changes to support fight against climate change, unless it would require them to become vegetarian or vegan



As scientists have suggested, broader Government action on its own might not be enough for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the current target of 2050. The survey revealed that many participants would be willing to make personal changes to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The poll showed that 65% of the participants would be willing to drive less, 63% stated they would be willing to eat less red meat to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, 66% polled expressed the willingness to use more public transport.  Three-quarters (76%) of the participants emphasised they would walk and cycle more, while 74% stated they would buy fewer clothes.

However, participants appeared to be less willing to take more significant steps such as becoming vegetarian or vegan. Whereas 31% polled stated they would become vegetarian, 59% indicated they would not be willing to stop eating meat. Only 18% would become vegan, for 71% polled, however, this would not be a personal change they would be willing to accept.*



With increasing debate about whether economic growth can be compatible with tackling climate change the poll asked respondents which of the two they thought should be prioritised. Half of the respondents (50%) indicated that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should be prioritised over growing the economy. On the other hand, 30% of them said that growing the economy should be prioritised over the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and 20% didn’t know what priority should be followed.



*The poll did not ask whether the participant was currently a vegetarian or vegan


Survation polled 2017 people online aged 18 and over in the UK.


Fieldwork was conducted between 2nd-5th September 2019.


Data tables and methodology can be found here.


Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


To learn more about Survation’s polling capabilities or to commission a poll, contact Harry Mason or John Gibb on 020 3818 9661 or email

Would you like to have your own views represented in Survation’s research work?

To join our paid consumer opinion panel, simply go to: and register (1 minute) and we’ll credit your account with 50 points for simply confirming your email and allocate 100 points for taking a very short survey. Points convert to cash which can be withdrawn each time you reach the equivalent of £50.



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