UK public concerned about climate action, but not enough to help fund it


More than three-quarters of the UK population, or 20 million British households, are concerned about climate change and the damage it will bring, but just 31% of those are willing to contribute financially to ensuring climate success and achieving the net-zero energy transition

That’s one of the outcomes of the latest report by UK energy services and switching company uSwitch, which notes that whilst 25% of respondents are more aware of climate change than ever before, less than a third of those surveyed would be willing to contribute just £38 a month, or £454 per year to help the UK upgrade energy infrastructure necessary to clean up emissions and meet the 2050 climate neutrality target.

More than 50% of respondents are unwilling to contribute to these efforts directly, with 31% stating that the financial responsibility lies with energy companies, whilst 22% of respondents believe the government should fund infrastructure requirements.

Who is willing to contribute? Look to the millennials, as the report notes that those aged between 18 and 34 are mostly willing to pay a higher energy bill – as much as £737 per year, and those living in the capital, London, where household incomes are typically higher, and air pollution more severe, would be prepared to as much as £1,000 per year in order to play a positive part of the British energy transition.

In stark contrast, respondents based in the South East of the UK are willing to pay just £204 to help ensure climate success.

Interestingly, the report further notes that consumers are willing to pay for electric vehicles (EVs), with almost 50% of non-EV owners expressing interest in buying one in the next 5 years. The biggest barriers noted by uSwitch include the upfront cost, which is typically higher than that of a fossil-fuelled model, mentioned 35% of those surveyed, and a further 33% expressing concerns regarding battery life, and a 31% stating a perceived lack of charging infrastructure as being the main challenge blocking the adoption.

Rik Smith, an energy expert at, said: “With the intense media interest in climate change, people across Britain are starting to look at the changes they can make to their own lives. But there is more hesitation when it comes to paying for the technology which is going to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

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“The big exception to this rule seems to be EVs, where nearly half the households in the country are thinking about buying one. Yet consumers still need reassurance that there are enough public charging points to get them from A to B without being stranded before they go full throttle for battery-powered cars.”