A new first-of-its-kind study has found that the UK public are unwilling to commit much of their own funds to combat climate change.
Specifically, as the researchers determined, respondents to the study were only willing to commit approximately the same amount someone might spend on stamps.
The research was published towards the tail-end of the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, days before a climate accord was reached by delegates. Conducted by Tanya O’Garra and Susana Mourato of the London School of Economics and Political Science, the study is based on the results of interviews with over 1000 adults, discussing how much they would be willing to contribute personally to combat climate change in developing countries.
The results of the research, which were published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, found that respondents were only willing to pay around £27 ($29.37) more income tax each year towards projects that would support climate change adaptation efforts in developing countries.
Which, as the authors are quick to point out, is around what most UK residents spend on postage stamps each year.
£27, or around $30 US, is also less than the $100-$150 per capita that the World Bank believes is necessary to actually help developing countries begin adapting to changes in the climate.
The authors conclude that “a belief in nature as the main cause of climate change … has a strong negative influence on participation overall.” Why so many people (31%) believe that climate change is a result of natural causes is unknown, but the causal relationship with inaction suggests that people are working hard to absolve them of responsibility for helping others. The authors add that “the implication is clear: a belief that climate change is caused by nature allows some people to absolve themselves of responsibility towards those who will be negatively impacted by climate change.”