More than one in seven people in the UK say they would be prepared to move and others say they might quit their job if their workplace and home town does not become greener, according to a survey.
People also say they want council leaders to help make homes greener and cheaper to run.
In a large survey of 20,000 adults, YouGov found that people would prioritise public transport investment as the number one way of lowering their local area’s carbon footprint or improving energy efficiency.
The survey, commissioned by energy company E.ON, shows widespread support, at least in principle, for green measures across large parts of the UK.
Tackling the cost of living and tackling net zero are two parts of the same challenge
Michael Lewis, E.ON
“You often see sceptics saying that’s all very well, but when it comes down to it people only care about the cost of living,” said E.ON’s UK boss Michael Lewis.
“This survey emphatically refutes that, people really do care about the long term, about future generations.”
He added: “Things are not mutually exclusive. Tackling the cost of living and tackling net zero are two parts of the same challenge.”
Of those surveyed, 44% said that they want to live in the UK’s greenest city, while nearly a third (31%) want to work for the greenest company in the country.
And 16% said they would be willing to move to a different part of the country if their town does not become greener in the next half decade.
Warwickshire-based Mr Lewis is not one of those, but he is taking responsibility at home.
“I don’t think I’d go as far as to say I’d move, but I would certainly work hard to make sure that I was doing my bit to ensure that I was going green,” he said, saying that he is in the process of installing a heat pump.
Mr Lewis said that local councils can do a lot to help some people decarbonise their heating – one of the biggest challenges for making the UK green.
He sees around six in 10 homes choosing the same solution as himself by installing a heat pump before the middle of the century.
But around two in 10 were likely to be hooked into district heating networks where they share their heating with hundreds, if not thousands, of neighbours. These will require some help from local authorities.
Other challenges include getting enough electricity into the home to support both a heat pump and an electric car.
While the cables that carry electricity to a street have huge capacity, the cables connecting individual homes to those cables often need to be upgraded.
The survey found that 41% of people thought that the public transport in their local area needs investment to help push down the local carbon footprint.
Other priorities were commercial premises (38%), residential properties (33%), transport hubs (31%), hospitals (24%) and others.
In the survey, 46% of people do not think their region is doing enough to reduce carbon emissions and make life greener.
Mr Lewis did not want to name cities that are leading the way in the UK – but praised the city of Malmo in Sweden and the refurbishment of Tegel airport in Berlin.