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Climate & Energy

Polling the Politics of Net Zero: What Can Politicians Learn From EU and UK Views on Climate Policy?

Paper16th May 2024

Chapter 1

Executive Summary

A broad consensus has been reached by Western democracies on the need to address climate change. This consensus runs right through Europe and the UK, with about two-thirds of the public backing climate action.[_] This should be heralded as a political win – but, as this new polling shows, it cannot be taken for granted.

In order to explore the politics of climate, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) commissioned YouGov to field a survey of more than 15,000 respondents across the UK and seven EU member states: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal. Whenever the “EU” is mentioned hereafter in this paper and its graphics, it is with specific reference to these seven countries. When combined “EU” or “EU and UK” figures are reported, this is Tony Blair Institute for Global Change analysis of the country-level data provided by YouGov.

Survey experiments were used to examine how public opinion responds to different types of messaging strategies and different policy designs. The focus was on four key areas of climate policy: trust in policy delivery; home-heating decarbonisation; land-use decarbonisation; and climate assistance for developing countries.

People in the UK and Europe have lost faith in their governments’ ability to meet ambitious targets and fear being unfairly penalised by having to take on excessive costs and make substantial lifestyle changes. These are legitimate grievances, but they are being exploited by populists. The European Parliament elections look set to confirm a growing tension for leaders: loud voices on the right without any ambition to address climate change, versus equally loud activists on the left without credible strategies for reaching net zero.

Failing to change direction on climate, both politically and in terms of policy choices, risks a loss of support for the whole idea of climate-change action. That would be a disaster.

The solution lies in a new political impetus. Leaders must no longer focus solely on targets as a means to an end, but instead on how they can be delivered in a way that both boosts prosperity and recognises that climate emissions do not respect national borders. This new survey shows that when presented with this way forward, the public responds positively. Their support for action on climate increases – and even sceptics can be converted.

Key Findings

  • Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU: 69 per cent are concerned about climate change and 61 per cent support the target of net zero.

  • However, there is an emerging delivery deficit on net zero: people don’t believe that major emitters and governments will reach their targets. Just 31 per cent of Europeans, and 19 per cent of the UK public, believe their respective governments will reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

  • A huge majority (79 per cent across Europe, 84 per cent in the UK) think China will not reach their stated climate goals. And that opinion has consequences: people across Europe and the UK are divided (55 per cent support, 45 per cent oppose) on whether their governments should lead on climate change if China is seen not to act. This belief that China will not do its bit is also linked to an unwillingness on the part of the public to have to pay for net-zero initiatives.

  • This scepticism and apprehension can be overcome by good policy solutions – and demonstrating the tech-enabled delivery of climate solutions is an under-used political tool. Support for net zero is boosted by 11 per cent among those most sceptical on climate when they are presented with information on how technology is enabling the transition. A negative “doomer” message, which is more often used, is much less effective.

  • Costs need to be fair. Providing support for the poorest in society and targeting taxes at the worst emitters is the best approach, in conjunction with policy “carrots” as opposed to “sticks”.

  • Climate leadership, and climate finance for developing countries, are supported by the public because they are considered important elements in tackling climate change. Support is highest in Denmark (68 per cent), followed by Italy (63 per cent), with the UK sitting at 50 per cent.

Chapter 2

Forging a New Political and Policy Consensus on Climate

In the UK, emissions are not decreasing at the pace required to meet future targets. In fact, outside of electricity supply, aviation and shipping, the pace needs to almost quadruple if 2030 targets are to be met.[_] It’s a similar story in the EU: as things stand it is unlikely to meet its 2050 goal until the middle of the 2060s.[_]

This challenging context does not mean it is necessary to abandon these targets – instead it requires smart policies, deliverable plans and an international outlook. The paper Reimagining the UK’s Net-Zero Strategy – also published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) – sets out a potential route forward, centred on a renewed focus on technological development, as well as innovation and consumer choice. If citizens are expected to change their behaviour, they need to believe that targets are achievable – and consistent with their other priorities.

Leaders, meanwhile, must ensure that the transition is equitable and fair. Such an agenda provides a practical blueprint for governments, but a key question is whether it can have the political effect of addressing the growing green backlash, or greenlash.

The findings of the survey confirm that there is a delivery deficit on climate change: the public support action but, at present, simply do not believe that net zero will be delivered by Europe or key emitters such as China. The data show that sensitivity around the costs of transition (and the distribution of those costs) is essential if leaders are to retain a net-zero consensus. Crucially, the data also demonstrate how harnessing technology is not just good policy but also effective political strategy: it is less polarising than conventional political messaging on climate change.

Chapter 3

Key Survey Findings

The Public Support Net Zero but the Cost of Living Dominates

Despite recent greenlash, public concern about climate change and support for action has been growing – and that is certainly the case across the EU and the UK.

Figure 1

The majority of people in the EU and UK are concerned about climate change and support the target of net zero by 2050

Source: YouGov for TBI. Note: Climate-change concern and net-zero support measured on a 0-10 scale. 0-4: not concerned/do not support; 5: undecided; 6-10: concerned/support. Note: Due to rounding of the polling data, the data visualisations may not add up to exactly 100%.

However, concern about the climate does not translate into it being the highest priority: in almost every country we surveyed, the public place a higher priority on the cost of living and health care than they do on climate action.

Figure 2

Climate change isn’t considered a top priority across Europe and the UK

Source: YouGov for TBI

This is the political environment in which key decisions are being made on the transition: the public is concerned about climate, but it is a second-order priority. This impacts public willingness to make significant personal sacrifices as a result of climate policy, especially anything that erodes already declining incomes.

Large Emitters Such as China Are Not Trusted to Reach Net Zero

There is a lack of trust in key actors to deliver on climate. This is true of national governments and the EU, but particularly China. The majority of respondents do not believe that any of these actors will hit their net-zero targets – and the public is particularly sceptical about China.

Figure 3

While a majority support net zero, few think their government, the EU, large companies or China will get there by 2050

Source: YouGov for TBI. Note: Opinion of likelihood in the EU was only polled in member states. “Don't know” responses were excluded from this analysis. Belief in likelihood of reaching net zero by 2050 measured on a 0-10 scale. 0-4: not likely; 5: neither likely nor unlikely; 6-10: likely. Due to rounding of the polling data, the data visualisations may not add up to exactly 100%.

This is particularly concerning because the public is also aware that China, and other rapidly developing countries such as India, are responsible for an increasing proportion of global emissions, and as such harbour reservations over whether they will play their part.[_] If the public do not believe that major actors will follow through on their climate plans, they may question why they should have to make significant changes to their own behaviour – and incur personal costs – by way of, say, having a heat pump installed or acquiring an electric vehicle.

TBI’s survey asked whether respondents felt their government should be a global leader on climate, even if big emitters such China and the US do not take sufficient climate action – and the majority responded positively. However, this belief is concentrated among the most convinced on climate. When we look at the majority of the population in the EU and the UK – those who do not include climate change in their top three priority issues – support for action regardless of what China and the US do is a minority view.

Figure 4

The majority support climate action in principle, regardless of the stance of the US and China

Source: YouGov for TBI. Note: All respondents: N = 12,831. Notes: Don't know responses were excluded from this analysis. Due to rounding of the polling data, the data visualisations may not add up to exactly 100%.

People Won’t Pay If They Don’t Trust Net-Zero Targets

The link between cost and delivery is an under-appreciated aspect of the public’s views on climate policy. If people do not think that net zero is likely, they are much less likely to be willing to pay extra taxes to make it happen.

Figure 5

Scepticism of the deliverability of net-zero targets is linked with an unwillingness to pay more green taxes

Source: YouGov for TBI. Notes: On Green Deal question, UK survey respondents were given a hypothetical UK-based Green Deal scenario. Belief in likelihood of reaching net zero by 2050 measured on a 0-10 scale. 0-4: not likely; 5: neither likely nor unlikely; 6-10: likely. Perceived likelihood of the EU reaching net zero by 2050 was only polled in member states. Due to rounding of the polling data, the data visualisations may not add up to exactly 100%. Sub-samples varied significantly: China likely to reach net zero (N = 363); China not likely to reach net zero (N = 2,354); national governments likely (N = 889); national governments not likely (N = 1,599); EU likely (N = 824); not likely (N = 1,308); large companies likely (N = 727); large companies not likely (N = 1,798).

Chapter 4

Harnessing Technology Is the Right Policy and the Right Politics

Given that TBI’s polling shows that preserving support for action on climate requires the public to believe their government can deliver on net-zero goals, a credible delivery plan is required.

The most significant steps forward for climate action to date have come as a result of innovation. It was the emergence of Tesla that catalysed and accelerated the transition to electric vehicles, while the cost of producing electricity using solar has fallen by 89 per cent in ten years and battery costs have fallen by more than 97 per cent in the past three decades. At the same time, breakthroughs are now happening at even more rapid pace, aided by artificial intelligence.

This makes it imperative that governments in Europe and the UK take the lead on driving the development and rapid adoption of catalytic clean-technology solutions. Reimagining the UK’s Net-Zero Strategy sets out the basis for how governments can do this. This involves the government organising itself more effectively and treating net-zero delivery as a whole-system challenge: providing more effective R&D support to drive innovation; aligning regulation with clean-technology requirements; speeding up delivery timelines; effective market-making through strategic use of public funding; and enhanced focus on driving technology transfer across the world.

This policy blueprint, and a clear programme of delivery, needs to sit alongside effective political messaging to maintain support for action. A recent cross-national study by the OECD showed that the best way to get people to support a climate tax is to convince them that policies will achieve their objectives.[_] This speaks to the importance of not just good policy but also good communications, in order to create enduring support for action and reform.

Testing the Theory: How Important Is it to Get the Message Right?

A key hurdle for green policy that is centred on technology is whether it can actually resolve the growing political problem around selling the delivery of net zero. To test this, TBI conducted a randomised control trial of the effectiveness of different messaging strategies. Different sections of our survey’s 15,000 sample were given different messages, to test how they affected belief in, and support for, climate goals.

Each tested message was seen by just one section of respondents. A final group, the “control” group, saw no message at all. Though they saw different messages (or, in the case of the control group, no message at all), all respondents went on to take the same survey. Since, statistically, the only thing that distinguishes these groups is the message they were exposed to, any significant difference in attitudes can be attributed to the message.

The first message was a technology-delivery message. It highlighted the positives: how climate-technology developments are increasing the effectiveness of emission-reduction measures, and how this in turn makes governments’ climate policies more effective. It is likely that the public will become more trusting of governments – both in Europe and around the world – if presented with information on how the technical aspects of dealing with climate issues are becoming more achievable. Recent evidence has shown that among the strongest ways to get people to support climate policy is to convince them that the policies will be effective.[_]

We contrasted this with a pessimistic “doomer” message, emphasising that we are falling short of achieving our climate goals and that without fast and dramatic action, the Earth will warm to a catastrophic degree. Many climate activists and policymakers believe that the best way to get the public to support climate action is to make them aware of the grave nature of the emergency and the likely consequences of a lack of action.[_] However, some evidence suggests that this approach could just serve to encourage apathy, especially among those who are less concerned about climate.[_]

As Figure 6 shows, a technology-delivery message has a statistically significant effect on reducing scepticism that national governments will achieve net zero among those with low climate concern. You can see how the public responded to the question of whether net zero will be brought about by their government based on their level of climate concern.

Figure 6

Messaging on climate technology increases public belief in net-zero delivery among those less concerned about climate change

Source: YouGov for TBI. Notes: These are the results of a randomised control trial, where respondents were exposed to different messages to measure their relative effect against a control group. % change is change in respondents’ belief in their country reaching net zero by 2050 following messages; the grey area indicates the 95% confidence interval of the control group’s belief in their country reaching net zero. “Very low climate concern” is anyone who scored 1 or below on a 10-point climate-concern scale. “Very high climate concern” is anyone who scored 9 or above on a 10-point climate-concern scale.

The next question is how these two messages impact on support for the target of net zero by 2050. The theory is that if people believe that net zero will be reached around the world, they will be more likely to support ambitious target – and a technology-delivery message is more likely to convince them. Indeed, it is among those with the lowest climate concern that the dial shifts the most.

Figure 7

Climate-technology messaging is most persuasive for those who are more sceptical about climate change

Source: YouGov for TBI Notes: % change in support for the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, after exposure to optimistic climate-tech messaging and pessimistic climate-“doomer” messaging respectively. The grey area indicates the 95% confidence interval of the control groups support for the goal of net zero by 2050. Climate concern is measured on a 10-point scale, grouped in increments of 2: very high: 9–10; high: 7–8; undecided: 4–6 (excluded from this visualisation); low 2–3; very low 0–1.

The message from these survey experiments is that climate-technology messaging is an effective way to build support for climate action and belief in climate-policy delivery – particularly among those who do not already have very high levels of climate concern. An enhanced focus on driving technology innovation and creating the markets for rapid adoption is therefore not just effective climate policy, but also good climate politics. To maintain support in the delivery phase, the key is to implement policies that make climate change seem achievable – both at home and abroad – through technological innovation at lower costs.

The Costs of the Transition Must Be Seen to Be Distributed Fairly

Belief that major actors will deliver on climate targets is important if members of the public are to be encouraged to make lifestyle changes and incur costs to reduce their climate footprint – but it is even more important to ensure that the public is persuaded that these costs are reasonable and fair.

As we set out in Reimagining the UK’s Net-Zero Strategy, it is important to be honest about the fact that the transition will involve change and costs on the part of individuals. Those individuals are more likely to agree to bearing the costs if they understand the benefits and trust that their government will support them – and think that the costs will be fairly distributed.

The opposite is also true: without a plan to ensure that the financing of the transition is fair, progress is likely to halt. Across the EU this debate has focused on costs in two central areas of the climate-policy debate, which we examine here: the transition to heat pumps and the farmer protests erupting across Europe.

Targeted Taxes and No Bans: How the Public Would Design the Heat Pump Transition

Homeowners are being encouraged to replace high-emission gas boilers with lower-emitting heat pumps – but at a significantly higher cost. While several governments have offered substantial “carrots” in the form of subsidies, they have also tried to encourage the transition with “sticks”: near-term bans on gas boilers.

Regarding home heating, our survey respondents were asked to pick between two hypothetical policies to subsidise heat-pump installation. Each policy had four features and each of those features had one random choice of the three possible elements per feature, as presented in Figure 8 (below). This allowed us to examine respondents’ support for each element relative to the others, meaning we can understand their revealed preferences.

In Figure 8, the first items have no green bar because they are the least preferred element of each feature, which all the other figures are relative to. The percentage change (the green bar for each policy element) demonstrates how much that particular dimension of the policy makes a difference to support for the heat pump transition, relative to the least preferred element of that feature.

Figure 8

Opinion of heat pumps: people are sensitive to cost, in favour of carbon taxes and opposed to ban on gas boilers

Source: YouGov for TBI. *The homeowner would pay the rest in monthly instalments over 10 years (€50/month). Respondents in the UK and Denmark were presented with figures in their own currency. Notes: % is the increased probability of choosing a policy package if it includes specific element. The grey area indicates the 90% Bayesian credible intervals of the control groups support for the target of net zero by 2050.

There are four key findings from this experiment. First, the public is sensitive to cost – both the amount that homeowners will have to pay and how the state will finance the subsidies. Of the three cost options for homeowners, respondents prefer higher up-front subsidies targeted at poorer households. These results are consistent with previous findings showing that the public is sensitive to the upfront cost of heat pumps and the perceived fairness of how these costs will be distributed.[_]

The public also prefers the idea that the subsidy is financed through carbon taxes over a general VAT increase. This is consistent with a “polluter pays” principle, which is core to EU policy and supported by a body of public-opinion evidence: people want climate action to be funded by those who pollute more.[_]

Third, the public opposes the back-door imposition of costs in the form of a ban on gas boilers, preferring no ban at all or, failing that, a ban in 2040 rather than 2030. This echoes the recent controversy over gas boilers in Germany, which saw significant backlash against a government plan to bring the deadline for a ban on gas boilers forward to 2024. The debate also resulted in an increase in support for the climate-sceptic, right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), with the party using it as an election issue.

Finally, the public is less moved by discussion over what other types of benefits the introduction of heat pumps will deliver, such as the creation of jobs, lower monthly heating costs or a reduction in carbon emissions. This reinforces the point that when it comes to heat pumps, the public is laser-focused on costs and their distribution.

The Public Is Sensitive to Transition Costs That Hit the Economy, Not Just Their Own Pocket

Land-use regulation is another important area of EU green policy, as land use is one of the leading sources of emissions. The “Fit for 55” package within the EU’s Green Deal is designed to reduce the emissions from land use by 55 per cent by 2030.[_]

While this issue has less of an effect on the general public, it does impose potentially substantial costs on farmers, whose well-being elicits substantial public concern. Meanwhile, farmer protests have been significantly disruptive across Europe, and a symbol of greenlash.

When we presented respondents with some basic information about the European Green Deal, 63 per cent across the political spectrum supported such a measure. However, just as people are sensitive to costs imposed on both themselves and low-income citizens, we have found that they are also sensitive to costs imposed on farmers.

We discovered this tension through an “attack and rebuttal” experiment. We gave a subset of our sample a message from a fabricated European farmers union attacking the Green Deal, and found that support for it subsequently dropped from 63 per cent to 50 per cent. While a rebuttal from an invented green organisation increased support, it didn’t return it to the initial level.

We also found that concern for farmers is shared across the political spectrum. The farmers’ message had a strong negative effect on support for the Green Deal even among those who support left-wing or green parties.

Figure 9

Support for EU Green Deal suffers when public informed of farmers’ opposition

Source: YouGov for TBI. Note: UK survey respondents were given a hypothetical UK-based Green Deal scenario.

When it comes to heat pumps and land use, the thinking could be that while the public is sensitive to costs, if informed of other benefits that these polices will produce, such as cleaner air and more jobs, their support will rebound. We did not find this to be the case. The lesson is that policymakers can only impose costs to a limited degree before a political cost is incurred, which is something that leaders need to consider when designing policy.

Two main principles should therefore apply. First, it is essential for governments to focus on how to create a positive transition for consumers and citizens, with an emphasis on creating the demand for necessary changes through carrots rather than sticks. Encouraging new business models and supporting innovation in technology will be essential to achieving this, rather than putting strong regulatory levers in place that create additional costs before consumers are ready to adopt the technology.

Leaders need to work out how to manage incentives in the economy, such as subsidies, to create a self-sustaining and positive demand for change. This means working with what consumers want. The acceleration in the uptake of electric vehicles provides an instructive example: a rapid reduction in price came about through technological innovation and an extension of the charging infrastructure, both of which were driven by consumer demand.

Second, when governments think about using public funding, there is clear appetite for this funding to be concentrated on those who need it most – and for the tax burden to seem fair as a result. Consideration should also be given to how to equitably distribute carbon taxes and target support more effectively (through tools such as digital ID, for instance).

The Public Recognises That Climate Emissions Don’t Respect Borders – Leaders Should Too

While it is important for developed countries to achieve net zero, achieving global climate goals will require countries to develop with low emissions central to all decision-making. This will require both public and private investment, yet private climate financing in recent years has fallen, not risen.

This has been a focus of recent COP conferences, where developed countries have made substantial pledges to provide financial assistance for low-carbon development. Europe and the UK can lead on this by providing a blueprint that others can follow; they can also support developing countries in delivering low-carbon infrastructure and building the low-carbon industries of the future.

While the public is often sceptical of foreign aid, there is appetite for leadership on the global stage to provide financial aid for the net-zero transition, as you can see in Figure 10 (below). In our cross-country sample, just under 51 per cent agreed that it is important for Europe and the UK to provide financial support to developing countries on climate, 31 per cent disagreed, with the remaining 18 per cent unsure.

Figure 10

The EU and the UK largely support climate aid for poorer nations

Source: YouGov for TBI. Note: Due to rounding of the polling data, the data visualisations may not add up to exactly 100%.

This belief in the importance of climate finance exists across Europe. It is highest in Denmark (68 per cent), Italy (63 per cent) and Portugal (62 per cent), but support is also a majority position in the UK, where 50 per cent back the idea and 34 per cent oppose.

Chapter 5


The survey provides evidence of a point that is often underappreciated within political discussions on climate: demonstrating effective delivery, at home and abroad, is key to maintaining support.

This is particularly true for those groups who don’t consider net zero a top priority. The majority of the public do not need further messages about the harms of fossil fuels, nor the degree to which we are off-track. Instead they need to see evidence of delivery and trust that their government is getting on with it in a way that isn’t in conflict with wider economic and social goals.

Governments should unleash innovation in clean technology to create alternatives that can thrive over fossil fuels. They should push through the transition at home and abroad. They should better target and deliver support. And they should accelerate the ability for public climate finance to drive delivery on the ground, while also crowding in private-sector finance.

This is the time to get smarter about both climate policy and climate politics.

Chapter 6


From 8 to 15 March 2024, the Tony Blair Institute worked with YouGov to survey attitudes to the net-zero transition across seven EU member states and the UK. The interviews were conducted online and each country was sampled and weighted by age, education, gender, region and past national election vote, to be nationally and politically representative.

The individual data from Denmark (2,046), France (2,010), Germany (2,053), Italy (2,120), Netherlands (2,125), Poland (2,006), Portugal (1,006) and the UK (2,127) can be accessed via the hyperlinks.

Chapter 7


This annex provides the full text of the information that was presented to survey respondents for particular polling questions.

Climate-Technology Message (relates to Figures 6 and 7)

The world has recently made big and important advances in tackling climate change. Technology is making this possible.

• Climate scientists have said 2023 was the year global CO2 emissions likely peaked, due to advancements in technology and the spread of renewable energy.

• The price of producing renewable energy has plummeted due to advances in technology. Worldwide, the cost of energy produced by windfarms has fallen by over 70% and solar costs have fallen by 90% since 2010.

• The cost of producing batteries for electric cars has fallen by 85% in a decade. Battery production to store renewable energy is set to increase by 800% by 2030.

• We are still in the early stages of climate technology development and the impact of AI, like we were with the internet in 1995. With continued investment, technology will continue to transform how we tackle climate change.

All this makes it increasingly important for the UK to continue tackling climate change and investing in a carbon-free society.

Climate “Doomer” Message (Figures 6 and 7)

Climate change now poses an existential threat to our planet.

• The world is already 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in pre-industrial years, and 2023 was the hottest year on record.

• Climate and weather-related disasters have increased by 500% in the past 50 years.

• Even if current national commitments are met, experts say the world would still see a catastrophic temperature rise of 2.9°C this century - which would result in hundreds of millions of people being displaced by flooding.

• No G20 country is reducing its emissions enough to reach their net-zero targets. Global coal consumption hit a record high in 2023, mostly driven by increased usage by India and China.

All this makes it increasingly important for the UK to continue tackling climate change and investing in a carbon-free society.

Heat-Pump Conjoint (Figure 8, UK example)

Element 1

Element 2

Element 3

Feature 1:

Homeowner Finance

New heat pumps cost £20,000. The government will pay a £10,000 up-front subsidy for installation for everybody. The homeowner pays the rest of the cost.

New heat pumps cost £20,000. The government will pay a £15,000 up-front subsidy for installation for poorer households. Other households get a £6,000 up front payment and pay the rest (£14,000)

New heat pumps cost £20,000. The government will pay a £6,000 subsidy up front for installation. The homeowner pays the rest in monthly installments over 10 years (£125/month)

Feature 2:

State Finance

£9 billion annual cost covered by an increase in general VAT.

£9 billion annual cost covered by a carbon tax on products with a high carbon output.

£9 billion annual cost covered by an increase in government debt.

Feature 3:

Gas Boiler Ban

From 2030, all new gas boilers will be banned.

By 2040, all new gas boilers will be banned.

No gas boiler ban.

Feature 4:


A full transition to renewable home heating will generate approximately a 30% reduction in carbon emissions.

A full transition to renewable home heating will save households approximately £500 per year.

A full transition to renewable home heating will create approximately 500,000 new jobs across the UK.

EU Green Deal (Figure 9)

A new piece of legislation has been proposed called the ‘EU’s Green Deal’. The aims include:

• to transform at least 30% of the EU’s lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas for biodiversity

• to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, with a 55% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2030

• to substantially reduce the pollution of nature and carbon emissions

Farmers’ Attack Message (Figure 9)

A spokesperson for the United Farmers Coalition has criticised the policy, saying:

“As representatives of the farming community, we are deeply concerned about the implications of the Green Deal on our livelihoods. Over 6,300 agricultural-related businesses in the UK have closed since 2017 and nearly 5,000 meat, fruit, vegetable, and dairy farmers have lost their jobs. #[EU TEXT: In just 15 years, the EU has lost close to 40% of its farmers, almost exclusively small and medium farms, who have gone out of business or been bought up by increasingly large competitors.]

Many of the costs of the Green Deal will fall on our members. By 2030, we will have to reduce pesticide usage by 50% and remove 10% of 2020 farmland for ‘reforestation and restoration’.

This will drive up costs and could reduce crop yields by 12%. The Green Deal will increase the challenges that we face at the worst possible time.”

Environmentalist Rebuttal (Figure 9)

A Spokesperson from the Green Unity Network has defended the scheme, responding:

“The Green Deal cannot come soon enough. At present, agriculture generates roughly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. Without changes to the way we produce food, there is no way we can stop adding to warming of the earth. At the moment, agriculture creates three times more CO2 emissions than the aviation industry in Europe.

Across the UK, farming as it is done today drives animals out of their homes, wastes resources and pollutes waterways. The Green Deal has set a target of planting 50 million trees by the end of 2025. A reduction in pesticides and fertilizers will improve biodiversity, for healthier soil and more resilient crops in the long run. The Green Deal will create environmental and societal benefits for future generations and the planet."


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