British climate concerns linked to 2013 floods and extreme weather events

Concern about climate change
Concern about climate change

Public belief in the reality of climate change has risen in Britain, partly because of the 2013 winter floods, according to a report. Concern has almost returned to the high levels reported in 2005, say University of Cardiff researchers. ritons named climate change as a major issue facing the UK alongside crime and education in a national survey.Many see climate change as contributing at least in part to floods, especially when they have been affected directly. The storms that began in October 2013 forced many from their homes and made the 2013-14 winter the wettest on record.More than 5,000 homes and businesses were flooded and many rivers in southern England reached their highest ever recorded levels.

A year on, researchers surveyed 1,000 people across the UK about their attitudes to climate change and the floods .A follow-up study of 995 people was conducted in five flood-affected areas of England and Wales, including Dawlish, Gloucester, Aberystwyth, Hull and along the flooded part of the Thames. Almost 9 in 10 people said they acknowledged the existence of climate change, with most believing this was caused mainly or partly by human activity. And 11% of people saw climate change as one of the top three issues currently facing the UK, with similar proportions naming crime (14%) and education (12%). Meanwhile, three quarters of respondents said they had personally noticed signs of climate change during their lifetime, including changing weather patterns, seasons or extreme weather.

Professor Nick Pidgeon of the University of Cardiff, who led the research, said it was clear that people had begun to make links between flooding and climate change, particularly among those with direct experience. “We have found, although we could only partly attribute that potentially to the flooding, that belief in climate change has gone up in this particular survey compared to surveys we’ve done over the last five years or so, and that is a particularly significant result”. He said the work added to a number of studies looking at the influence of extreme weather events on people’s views on climate change. “Although it’s methodologically complex to establish this link the evidence is increasing that there has been some effect of these events on people’s views on climate change,” he said. “Effectively, people are joining the dots between the evidence they’re getting – they’re starting to construct a narrative which links extreme weather to climate change in the future.”

BBC news article:  Climate concerns “linked to floods:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31024149

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