Climate change: Welsh majority says lifestyle changes are needed in new survey

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An overwhelming majority of people in Wales (84%) believe that the way we live our lives must fundamentally change in order to tackle the climate emergency, according to a government survey of 1,149 Welsh respondents.

Given Wales’ ambitious zero waste targets, circular economy strategy and position on the global recycling rate ranking, it may come as no surprise that 84% say they want even less food waste, less packaging and more recycling. 81% said they are already minimizing their food waste or are likely to do so.

While 86% admit that they are worried about climate change, only 15% of respondents thought that it would affect their region “very much”. However, almost half of the participants (42%) realized that climate change could affect their region “to some extent”, reflecting the latest report by the Committee on Climate Change which uncovered the urgent and widespread climate-related risks that Wales currently faces is exposed.

With a view to a better future, the majority of respondents believed that a future with no net emissions would be better for their well-being (77%) and health (80%). Around half (51%) said net zero would be better for the economy. 80% also supported the UK’s commitment to net zero by 2050, and most would want a number of behavioral changes to achieve this.

Climate Minister Julie James said:

We look out for each other in Wales so I have no doubt about our ability to unite in great and bold action to tackle the climate emergency. Achieving net zero by 2050 will require determined action over the next decade, which means government, businesses and communities will come together to change the way we eat, shop, travel and heat our homes .

While upfront action will be costly, the long-term financial and health costs of doing nothing will be significantly higher. We know that climate change will affect all of our communities, with flooding in Wales likely to be even more frequent and severe than in the last two years we have seen.

We must not feel overwhelmed by the actions we are taking today to invest in our future. A net zero Wales will look healthier, happier and more prosperous to us and our children and grandchildren and all subsequent generations.