Two-thirds of Britons expect lockdown to be a turning point for tackling climate change

Extinction Rebellion activists stage a socially distanced protest outside the Woolwich Centre, in so

Extinction Rebellion activists stage a socially distanced protest outside the Woolwich Centre, in south London, calling on the council to better respond to Covid-19 and climate change. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA. - Credit: PA

A new poll has found that two-thirds of the public think that now is the time for ambitious plans on climate change.

The survey by Opinium found 67% want their local MP to support strong plans for tackling the environmental crisis, while 73% agree the 'time is now' to call for the government to invest in a healthier, fairer and greener world.

More than seven in 10 (71%) also said the government needs to be more ambitious in its plans to tackle climate change, with support in areas such as clean renewable energy, reducing pollution, protecting nature, investing in green jobs and helping the public reduce their carbon emissions.

The polling of more than 2,000 adults in the UK was instigated by the Climate Coalition, whose members include the National Trust, WWF, the Women's Institute and Oxfam.

The group have more than 11,000 people signed up to take part in a virtual lobbying of MPs to call for a green-focused recovery to the coronavirus pandemic that tackles the climate and nature crises.

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Ahead of the Climate Coalition lobby, Chris Packham, the TV presenter, conservationist and vice-president of the RSPB which is also part of the coalition, said people did not want to get back to 'normal'.

'We don't want business-as-usual because it was bad business. And our essential response to Covid-19 has proven that everyone, the entire world, can make changes when it needs to - and it needs to now.

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'This tragedy has given us pause for thought and it's clear that people have heeded its ominous warning and want to rebuild their lives with a properly sustainable environment and secure future,' he said.

Separately, a report published by Greenpeace UK has found a green economic recovery package totalling £100 billion could create 1.8 million new green jobs in energy, transport and housing and help drive down climate emissions.

The assessment for the environmental group by sustainability advisers 3Keel set out how investing £100 billion over four years could boost jobs, the economy and climate action.

It said almost half (£48 billion) should go to cleaning up transport, creating 890,000 new jobs in electric vehicle manufacturing, expanding and improving public transport and creating new walking and cycling infrastructure.

Some £25.2 billion for smart power and renewable energy would create 320,000 jobs in offshore and onshore wind, solar, and upgrading the grid, the report said.

Increasing energy efficiency of homes and buildings such as schools and hospitals can produce jobs immediately across the country, with 'shovel ready' programmes ready to roll out.

Spending £17.2 billion in building efficiency would create 400,000 jobs, while £9.6 billion should be spent on restoring nature and reducing waste by boosting recycling.

Greenpeace UK's green recovery campaigner Paul Morozzo said: 'As a major unemployment crisis looms we need a decisive, fast response from the government.

'By investing in the right industries now to help tackle the climate emergency - which hasn't gone away during lockdown - the Government can create well over a million jobs when we desperately need them.

'It has the chance to address multiple crises at the same time. If Government acts, jobs will follow,' he said.

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