Biggest Ever Survey On Climate Change

Katie Ramirez
January 28, 2021

The "Peoples' Climate Vote" was undertaken late previous year in 50 high, middle and low income countries that together account for more than half of the world's population, according to the UNDP report.

Public belief in the emergency was highest in Britain, which is due to host a global UN Summit on climate change in Scotland in November, and Italy with 81 per cent. Support for climate action everywhere was much higher among those who had gone to university, the survey showed.

"The results of the survey clearly illustrate that urgent climate action has broad support amongst people around the globe, across nationalities, age, gender and education level", Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, said in a statement. UNDP organized the innovative poll with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Players were asked whether they believed climate change was a global emergency and, if they said yes, what the world should do in response.

The poll brings peoples' voices about their views on the climate crisis to world leaders and policymakers says Cassie Flynn, UNDP's Strategic Advisor on Climate Change.

The poll also showed "how" people want their policymakers to tackle the climate crisis. "That's never been done before at this scale", she said.

For example, in eight of the 10 survey countries with the highest power-sector emissions, majorities backed more renewable energy.

The figure climbed to 81% among those in the United Kingdom and in Italy, who topped the poll, while at least half of respondents in all countries said they thought there was a global climate emergency. In Canada 73 per cent supported renewables, in the USA support was 65 per cent, and 76 per cent in Australia. In four out of the five countries with highest emissions from land-use change, there was majority support for conserving forests and land. The survey also found a distinct age divide, with the majority of young people more concerned about climate change.

Credit Adobe Stock
Credit Adobe Stock

The survey also found a direct link between a person's level of education and their desire for climate action, according to UNDP. To reach them, the United Nations took an unconventional approach to polling by distributing the survey across mobile gaming networks. In many participating countries, it is the first time that large-scale polling of public opinion has ever been conducted on the topic of climate change.

For older adults, above or around 60, this dropped to 58 per cent. Moreover some of the results are consistent with other surveys using different methodologies.

The results of the Peoples' Climate Vote, the world's biggest ever survey of public opinion on climate change are published today.

"This poses a hard question for governments in countries such as Australia, Canada, and Poland that are trying to keep high-carbon industries alive: for how much longer will it be feasible to make policies that go against the wishes of your citizens?", he said in a statement. This wasn't a huge surprise said Fisher since this gap is also reflected in voting patterns between men and women.

The results of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-commissioned Peoples' Climate Vote were released on January 27.

Small island developing states - which have often already faced heavy impacts from a warming world - were an outlier, with 74% saying climate issues were an emergency.

"It added: "[These] actions advance those goals and ensure that we are tapping into the talent, grit, and innovation of American workers, revitalising the USA energy sector, conserving our natural resources and leveraging them to help drive our nation toward a clean energy future, creating well-paying jobs with the opportunity to join a union, and delivering justice for communities who have been subjected to environmental harm".

"Achieving a rapid global decarbonisation to stabilise the climate critically depends on activating contagious and fast-spreading processes of social and technological change", researchers from the Potsdam Institute led by lona Otto and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber noted in the scientific journal PNAS previous year.

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