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Sweltering Summer Leaves 72% of Britons Concerned About Climate

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A recent poll conducted by British pollster Opinium as the sweltering summer of 2018 drew to a close found concern about climate change amongst Britons “at the highest level in almost a decade,” The Independent reports.

In addition to finding that “60% of British adults think climate change made the heat wave ‘stronger or more likely to happen,’” the poll “revealed almost a third of respondents (30%) now describe themselves as ‘very concerned’ about climate change,” with another 42% declaring themselves “fairly” concerned.

Poll designer and author Leo Barasi predicted those feelings will intensify.

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“In the UK, we have just had this heat wave, which most people link with climate change—concern has gone up, but it hasn’t completely rocketed,” Barasi said. “It’s a bit of a double-edged thing. They believe it was definitely a sign of climate change, just as the science says, but most people’s experience of it was not unequivocally awful—not like a massive forest fire or a terrible hurricane.”

In fact, he noted, some people “quite enjoyed” the heat. But that pleasure will abate, Barasi told The Independent, as Britons see “food prices being higher, data from hospitals showing the effects of the heat wave, and farmers having problems with feed for their animals.”

The poll placed climate change “among the top five issues the public, particularly younger people, want politicians to talk about more,” ahead of Brexit, education, and the economy, but still behind health, immigration, housing, and crime.

“Public awareness of the effects that climate change is having now is in tune with the science,” said Dr. Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. “As more of these events occur in the UK, public support for action to cut emissions is likely to continue to swell.”