Public perceptions of climate change in Britain following the winter 2013/14 flooding

A recent Ipsos MORI survey for Cardiff University updates trend data on public attitudes to climate change as well as providing new data on how the British public responded to the flooding last winter.

A recent Ipsos MORI survey for Cardiff University updates trend data on public attitudes to climate change as well as providing new data on how the British public responded to the flooding last winter. The study tested whether the public, but particularly those affected by flooding, link the winter 2014 flooding to climate change.

It shows that the British public’s belief in climate change, and its human causes, rose significantly last year and is now at its highest level since 2005. Most people say they have noticed signs of climate change in their lifetime, particularly changing weather patterns or extreme weather and heavy rainfall or flooding.

Various factors were felt to have contributed to the flooding in winter 2013/14, including climate change, and a majority agreed that "The floods showed us what we can expect in the future from climate change". The survey found that those who lived in flood affected areas and whose property had been directly affected by flood waters were even more convinced that climate change is happening and concerned by it. They were also more likely to see climate change as a key issue facing the UK

Technical Details

  • Two samples were used in this research:
    • A nationally representative survey of adults aged 16+ in the UK (n=1,002)
    • A boost of approximately 200 interviews in each of five areas that had been affected by the floods in some way, in order to provide a sample of respondents with more direct experience of the flooding: Aberystwyth (n=200), Dawlish (n=198), Gloucester to Tewkesbury (n=198), Hull (n=200) and Sunbury to Windsor (n=199)
    • These five areas combined provide a flooded area sample with n=995. Of these, those whose property had been directly affected formed the ‘directly affected’ sample referred to in the report (n=135)
  • All respondents were interviewed face to face in their home using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) between 28 August and 31 October 2014. Quotas were set on age, gender and working status to ensure the final achieved samples were representative of the GB population in the case of the national sample and each of the five areas for the flooded area sample. The data were then weighted after fieldwork to the known population profiles.
  • The findings from previous years were from nationally representative in-home quota surveys conducted by Ipsos MORI in Great Britain. Respondents were aged 15+ and weighted to the profile of the known population.
    • 2013: Survey took place between 8 and 26 March 2013 (n=961)
    • 2010: Survey took place between 6 January and 26 March 2010 (n=1,822).
    • 2005: Survey took place between 1 October and 6 November 2005 (n=1,491).

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