Majority of people support carbon removal investment to help combat climate change

09 December 2021 by Jack Porter
blog author

​Nearly nine out of 10 people want the UK Government to invest in carbon removal, new statistics show. 

A survey of 1,500 respondents was conducted by climate services firm BeZero Carbon and research company Stack Data Strategy following COP26, with 45 per cent of people revealing they want such an investment, even if it impacts business revenue.  

The survey was launched to uncover the public’s knowledge, trust and support for carbon offsetting and removals in the UK. 

It found that while the majority of respondents are in favour of the investment from the Government and businesses, young people are the least aware of what offsetting is despite their concerns about climate change.  

The data shows now is the time for the Government and businesses to accelerate investments into technological removals. So far, the Government has pledged just £100million to Direct Air Capture and other greenhouse gas (GHG) removal technologies, compared to the US Congress which has just unlocked £3.5billion for Direct Air Capture hubs in the Infrastructure Bill. 

The survey also shows low-income households are the least supportive of actions required to invest in carbon offsetting, with just 43 per cent thinking that carbon offsetting is either effective or somewhat effective, compared to 63 per cent of highest income households 

The voluntary carbon market is expected to rapidly increase over the new few years, having already reached the $1billion mark, and the majority of UK businesses are pledging for a net zero target which indicates the greatest importance of the public understanding what carbon offsets are and how they can form part of a variety of solutions to tackle climate change. 

Commentary in the survey said: “We are at a critical point. Offsetting is a crucial part of the UK getting to net zero, but it is poorly understood, so scepticism is understandable. Government and businesses must act boldly and at a pace to build transparency and legitimacy in the market if it is to succeed as a high quality solution to tackling climate change.  

“This is our one shot. If poor quality information and poor quality carbon offsets continue to percolate in the ecosystem then our chance to build trust in this vital tool will be missed. Action must be taken right now, or we risk damaging the reputations of companies and government alike and further stagnating climate action in the years to come.” 

Jack Porter, Senior Consultant - Professional Services at Acre, said:Carbon offsetting is a term well known to the public, but the topic of carbon removals is a movement that has gained significant support, and now this survey conducted by BeZero Carbon and Stack Data Strategy confirms the public are seeking action. Off the momentum of COP26 now is the time for the Government and businesses to act and make the change towards a Carbon Removals future."

Jack sits in Acre’s Professional Services team. Jack has undertaken a range of assignments with clients ranging from the consulting arms of technology giants and Big 4 advisory through to specialist SMEs helping large corporates transition towards Net Zero Carbon. Jack previously led the Energy and Sustainability consultancy for the Energy and Climate Change Team.