Majority of Welsh citizens identify climate change as most critical issue

8 July 2014

LONDON: Leading Welsh organizations have identified climate change and the natural environment as the two issues which are most important to citizens for securing the future wellbeing of Wales.

In a new report published as part of the civil society project, The Wales We Want, 69.5% of the respondents identified climate change and the natural environment as “critical” for delivering future prosperity, just beating concerns around employment, at 69%.

Wales’ environment has been valued at around £8 billion and as such represents a strong asset to the domestic economy. In addition, the nation’s green economy delivered £5.5 billion for the wider Welsh economy in 2011-12, Natural Resources Wales recently revealed.

The groups within the network - which The Wales We Want report labels “Future Champions” - have the ability to spark discussion across all levels of Welsh society, and features an eclectic mix of names ranging from educational bodies to construction companies and religious organizations. 

Prompted by a request by Jeff Cuthbert AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, regarding what issues Welsh citizens could face in the future, The Wales We Want project endeavours to facilitate national dialogue on what matters most to the citizenry.

WALES national conversation climate

Graph courtesy of The Wales We Want

“Our daily lives are increasingly driven by short term pressures, and we tend to forget that decisions made today will shape the world for future generations, the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, Peter Davies, said at the launch of the report’s findings.

“In a very short space of time, the National Conversation struck a chord with people across the country who grasped this opportunity to focus on their aspirations for ‘The Wales We Want’ for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

The Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill is due to be introduced by the government this summer, and it is hoped the findings from The Wales We Want initiative will be incorporated into the final version of the Bill.

Cultivating a low carbon economy is a high priority for the coastal nation, which is a member of The Climate Group's States and Regions Alliance, and just last month the Government launched its Green Growth Wales: Investing in the Future prospectus.

Libby Ferguson, States and Regions Director, The Climate Group, commenting on the findings of the National Conversation, said: “In this interim report Welsh citizens name climate change as their number 1 concern, followed closely by employment. This demonstrates that the Welsh Government is on the right path in setting ambitious climate targets, developing legislation to ensure that sustainability is factored in across all areas of government and through actively pursuing low carbon growth and development.” 

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