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Effects of climate change would encourage most British adults to change their diet

In a recent public survey commissioned by the Global Food Security (GFS) programme, many British adults say they recognise that the food system is a key contributor to climate change and that they would change their diets to avoid negative future climate impacts.

The public survey of over 2000 British adults wanted to gauge public attitudes towards climate change, climatic shocks and how these issues link to the food system.  Key findings of the survey include:

  • Two thirds (66%) of those who agree human behaviour is resulting in the earth’s climate changing agreed that the food system is a key contributor to climate change, and the same proportion agree that we could significantly reduce the impact of climate change if we all made changes to our diets
  • However, at the same time six in ten (59%) British adults state that they would never consider a vegan diet, half (47%) would never consider a pescatarian diet and two in five (39%) would never consider a vegetarian diet. Added to this, around one in five (19%, 20% and 21% respectively) say they probably wouldn’t consider doing any of these in the future. (see image below)
  • Three quarters (73%) of the British public say that it’s better to change some of their lifestyle choices now if it means future generations are impacted less by the effects of climate change. A majority (68%) report that we should look to prevent potential future issues now rather than dealing with issues once they affect us
  • Most British adults (65%) would like to receive more information on climate change and its relationship with the food system, suggesting more could be done to increase awareness



The report authors state that “for these environment-influenced dietary choices, the British public do not appear to have strong feelings either way, and therefore could be persuaded if the impact on price, taste and health was negligible.”

Read the full report Public attitudes to climatic shocks and their interaction with the food system (PDF 727KB).

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28 Feb 2017