Few think climate change will hit them, kids

A demonstrator holds a placard at Camp for Climate Change's protest site at Blackheath in south London August 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Less than half of Britons believe climate change will affect them during their lifetime and fewer than a fifth think it will disturb their children, a government survey showed Friday.

In the YouGov poll for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 69 percent of respondents said flooding would be the most likely consequence in Britain, but only 26 percent believed the country was already feeling the impact of climate change.

“Recent research shows the public are unclear on what causes climate change and what the effects are,” the department said.

Scientists say rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by burning fossil fuels through greater energy usage, mass deforestation and increased transportation, will lead not only to flooding, but widespread drought, famine and disease, especially in poor countries.

People displaced by climate change, or ‘climate refugees’, was another consequence of a warmer world, and could weigh on Britain’s economy and social services.

“The survey results show that people don’t realise that climate change is already under way and could have very severe consequences for their children’s lives,” UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said in a statement.

“With over 40 percent of the UK’s CO2 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions.”

To raise public awareness, the department is launching its first ever advertising campaign Friday “confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin.”

To see the DECC television adverts, clickhere

Reporting by Michael Szabo; editing by James Jukwey