More than four out of five Britons support action to fight climate change and curb methane emissions

According to a new poll, Britons overwhelmingly support taking action to minimise the impacts of climate change (84 per cent total support, including 37 per cent who strongly support).

In the first international poll on climate change and methane commissioned by the Global Methane Hub that analyses public support for solutions worldwide, 83 per cent of Britons specifically support reducing emissions of the methane gas to fight climate change (including 27 per cent who strongly support).

Kim O’Dowd, Climate Campaigner at the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said: ‘’In light of these compelling poll results, the UK Government cannot continue turning a blind eye on this super pollutant. Despite pledging to contribute to reducing global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 at the CoP26 climate summit, through the Global Methane Pledge, tangible progress toward this goal remains elusive.

Methane flaring

“The methane memorandum released by the Government in 2022 falls short as it lacks the necessary measures to make significant reductions within the limited timeframe we have. What’s urgently needed are concrete regulations targeting key sectors to rapidly cut methane emissions.

“Time is running out and the Government must take decisive action to honour its commitments and confront this critical challenge.”

Methane gas emissions have contributed to about one-third of the warming we are experiencing today, causing harm to communities around the globe. As policymakers look for solutions to cool the planet following the hottest year on record, reducing methane by 45 per cent is crucial to lowering warming by 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2040. Over a 20-year time scale, methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and 28 times more potent over a 100-year time scale.

Globally, the poll reached people in 17 countries across six continents – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Senegal, South Korea, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The online survey gathered data from a total of 12,976 adults, at least 750 in each country, and asked respondents questions on key issues ranging from views on climate change, environmental concerns and support for action, knowledge of methane gas emissions and support for specific policies to reduce methane gas emissions.

In all 17 countries surveyed, respondents indicated significant support for policy solutions that would make strides toward tackling climate change. Overall, 82 per cent of respondents say they support actions taken to minimise methane emissions, with 39 per cent showing strong support.

“Reducing methane emissions is the fastest way to drive down global temperature, and reduce the impacts of climate change,” said Marcelo Mena, CEO of Global Methane Hub. “The survey shows that countries most impacted by climate change are also those who most support mitigating methane. The good news is that doing so will also bring additional benefits, including energy and food security and healthier communities.”

In terms of more detailed methane reduction policies, 78 per cent of Britons surveyed support implementing a ban on biodegradable waste disposal into landfills, a major source of methane gas emissions.

Around the world, people surveyed feel that national governments, corporations, and international governmental systems are far more capable than individual citizens to make meaningful changes to minimise the impacts of climate change.

O’Dowd added: “EIA will be closely monitoring the actions undertaken by the UK Government and push for the adoption of robust regulations to effectively mitigate methane emissions. For instance, we urge the swift implementation of measures to limit methane leaks in the fossil fuel sector, along with the enforcement of bans on routine venting and flaring.

“These steps are not only effective, they can also be very cost-effective. Other countries, such as the US, Canada, Nigeria and the EU have already done so. It’s high time for the UK to follow suit.’’.