Knowledge for better food systems

Climate Change and Energy Security: Assessing the impact of information and its delivery on attitudes and behaviour

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), in collaboration with the Glasgow University Media Group and Chatham House has released findings from a qualitative study of audience beliefs and behaviours in relation to climate change and energy security. 

The aim of the research was to examine the specific triggers for changes in patterns of understanding and attitude - and the conditions under which these lead to changes in behaviour. Some of the key findings are as follows:

  • There is widespread public confusion over climate change because of the uncertain way in which the media portrays it. Most people have only a vague understanding of the science, and believe it is inconsistent anyway.
  • People’s general distrust of politicians, many of whom dominate the conversation regarding climate change, has led to further disengagement.
  • The continuing politicisation of climate change in the UK media not only leads to confusion and distrust but is a strong contributory factor in its dropping off the media agenda.
  • The groups who have any credibility on the subject of climate change are scientists, academics, and researchers, and they are not currently at the forefront of the debate.
  • General awareness of energy security issues and potential solutions (i.e. renewable energies) by the public is low.

To access the report, click here.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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