time to level with the uk public

What can be done to increase bottom-up demand for meaningful climate action? A credible starting point, in our view, is to uncover the degree to which the UK public is aligned with the mainstream consensus, and how it is publicly communicated?

In response, People Get Real commissioned a nationally representative survey of UK adults from the polling company Ipsos. We wanted to establish a baseline around the following: 

  • First, how aligned is the UK public with the consensus view that there’s still time for urgent climate action to secure a livable future for all?


  • And secondly, how aligned is the UK public with the consensus view that it is important above all to be optimistic when communicating ‘bad news’ about climate change?         

The main poll findings – alongside others detailed in our report– tell People Get Real that trusted messengers are likely to be more attached to telling their story, than the public is to believing it. 

The poll findings read to us like a vote of no confidence in the claims that, we argue, are being made by those publicly-upholding the mainstream consensus.  

Of particular significance, in our view, is that one in five UK adults (10 million+ people) are willing to put the IPCC’s top-line message of March 2023, into history’s rearview mirror. 

The poll findings do not – in our view – offer justification for the optimism imperative when trusted messengers publicly communicate ‘bad news’ about climate change.

When asked to think about when trusted messengers are communicating about climate change, optimism is held as important by half of UK adults (51%) when being given ‘bad news’ about climate change. Significantly more nearly seven in 10 – said it is that important ‘bad news’ is shared whether there are solutions or grounds for optimism or not (68%).

This creates an unforeseen opportunity for a citizen-led reality check of widespread claims that implausible climate targets can still be met. 

Want to be part of making it happen? Find out more about our work.

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