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The Climate Crisis and COVID-19: New research into attitudes

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

“We can’t self-isolate from climate change” Mark Carney, May 2020

A turning point?

Whilst Covid19 has been the focus of attention for most of 2020 and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, there has also been an upsurge of concern about the environment and the climate crisis. Calls to build back better, build back greener are increasing. Putting the devastating health effects to one side, perhaps one of the most significant outcomes of the pandemic has been the dramatic – and almost instantaneous – mass changes in behaviour driven by the need to remain safe. And a side effect of that, already covered in numerous media articles, has been the positive environmental outcome of substantial reductions in travel and the resulting drop in carbon emissions.

Radix Fellow Jane Stevensen has contributed to a significant report launched this week, through a collaboration between reputation management specialists Lansons and research house Opinium, delving into how people view the climate crisis and attitudes towards it through the lens of the Covid19 pandemic. “Perspectives on the climate crisis and Covid19” shines a light on what people are thinking and how different demographics prioritise different aspects of climate change and the environmental implications of a warming world. There are real indications that this could be a turning point – time to stop the endless rhetoric and talking about climate change and drive real behaviour change led by consumers. But there are no guarantees – when in the same week there are announcements that the UK’s first new deep coalmine in 30 years has been given the go-ahead, and 3 days later the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveils a plan to power all UK homes with wind-generated power by 2030. These initiatives represent two complete opposites in climate terms; coal is the dirtiest of the hydrocarbons and utilities have begun a rapid energy transition away from coal, with a significant proportion of developed economies phasing it out of the energy mix completely.

The insights in this report can help shape business strategy and optimise outcomes for the planet.

Key findings include:

  • A third of UK adults (34%) say they feel more concerned about climate change as a result of the pandemic

  • Half of UK adults (57%) agree that the eventual recovery from the economic recession must put the environment first

  • A third of UK adults (37%) are opposed to the government getting rid of environmental regulations to make life easier for businesses

  • Three out of five UK adults (65%) want to know that the money they spend is not going to damage the environment – a 37% increase since the outbreak of COVID-19

  • Over half of all UK investors (58%) say they want their bank /building society to invest their savings (or other products) in a way that is good for the environment – a sentiment that has increased by 32% since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • 69% of UK adults say the government should invest in green technologies and industries as part of their response to the pandemic

You can access the full report here

Jane can be contacted at


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