Today, Copper released its latest in a series of insights into the public’s attitudes towards the infrastructure and development sectors. Our report – “Public attitudes to net zero emissions in the UK” – provides insight into what people think about meeting net zero by 2050.  The report builds upon our previous findings, incorporating new data and the insights of industry leaders from a roundtable session we hosted.

Following Rishi Sunak’s first budget and the ongoing challenge of coronavirus, there is no clear direction for the UK’s journey towards net zero emissions. Despite this, climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions remains one of the most prevalent issues of our time.

The public support net zero, but they do not believe the UK will reach the target by 2050 and aren’t willing to bear the cost.

The public have offered widespread support for the target of net zero emissions, though 64% of people do not believe that the UK is doing enough to reach net zero by 2050. Not only do the public not have confidence in the UK to deliver, they aren’t willing to personally contribute towards the costs.


The public has a narrow awareness of low carbon transport and energy technologies available to transition the UK to a greener economy and environment. 

Renewable energy sources from solar and wind received overwhelming support across the UK, with wind being more popular in the north and solar in the south.  However, other low carbon sources that contribute to the UK energy mix, such as tidal, hydro and nuclear power, were largely overlooked.

The public support a range of clean transport or energy schemes being built within their communities, as long as they don’t have to pay for them.

 This means we need good solutions that are also affordable and provide value to people. Their continued support will depend on the disruption caused by the project and the tangible benefits that come from investment.

What does this mean for you?

The public support net zero and are ready to make it happen. However, the challenges and benefits of net zero must be clearly articulated – and the transition will take time and a contribution from all sectors and everybody. By setting out a roadmap of small steps towards net zero, people can get on board with the journey and support the progress being made.

You can read Public attitudes to net zero emissions in the UK in our newly launched attitudes library.