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Are Jews in the UK more climate change conscious than the rest?

Author(s): David Graham, Carli Lessof and Jonathan Boyd
Date: 26 October 2021

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What do Jews in the UK think about climate change, and how do their views compare with the rest of the population of the UK on this issue? What role does one’s Jewish identity play in attitudes towards climate change? As world leaders gather in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change COP26 Summit, a new report from JPR – the Institute for Jewish Policy Research – details for the first time where UK Jewish people stand on climate change and examines the links between their attitudes on this topic and factors such as their age, sex, education and religiosity.

“Climate change is the great global challenge of our time, and the Jewish community needs to play its part in addressing that challenge”, says JPR’s Executive Director Dr Jonathan Boyd. “Our data are designed to help community leaders understand what Jewish people across the UK think on this issue, provide a benchmark against which to measure changes in attitudes over time, and help inform discussion about what community organisations can and should do.”

Some key findings include:

  • Virtually all respondents (92%) agree that the world’s climate is ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ changing, with almost seven out of 10 (69%) Jewish people saying it is definitely changing;
  • Almost two-thirds of Jews in the UK acknowledge humanity’s role in climate change, saying climate change is caused either ‘mainly’ (50%) or ‘entirely’ (13%) by human activity;
  • Two out of five (40%) respondents say they are either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ worried about climate change, and a further 37% say they were ‘somewhat’ worried;
  • Based on the data available, UK Jews appear to be more climate change aware than the UK population as a whole, with 66% of Jews saying that climate change is ‘mainly’ or ‘entirely’ caused by humans, compared with 54% of the general UK population;
  • Nevertheless, there are significant differences in attitude within the Jewish population, influenced by people’s denomination, politics, education, religiosity, economics and demographics. Progressive Jews and those on the political left are found to be considerably more climate change conscious than Orthodox Jews and those on the political right.

The data on the attitudes of UK Jews are drawn from JPR’s UK Jewish research panel and were collected in July and August 2021. The panel is designed to explore the attitudes and experiences of Jews in the UK on a variety of issues. The sample size is 4,152 for UK residents aged 16 who self-identify as being Jewish. The data were weighted for age, sex and Jewish identity and are representative of the self-identifying Jewish population of the UK. Details of the methodology used in our previous wave of this survey can be found here; participants who gave permission to be contacted again were invited to take part in the summer 2021 survey and some new participants joined the panel.

Do you want to join JPR’s panel and make your opinions count? Go to www.jprpanel.org.uk and subscribe!

Our reports are free to download. However, they are not free to produce, and as a registered charity, JPR relies on the generosity of donors to undertake its work. Please consider making a donation to help cover the costs of this particular report or to support JPR’s work more generally, by clicking here.