Two-thirds of people want action against climate change - UN global poll
Two-thirds of people around the world believe climate change is a global emergency and seek action, revealed a global survey carried out by the United Nations.
The survey shows people worldwide support climate action, providing politicians a clear mandate to take the major action needed, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
The poll, which questioned 1.2m people in 50 countries, showed that the majority of people, regardless of age, support measures against climate change.
Across 50 countries, 64% of people said that climate change was an emergency – presenting a clear and convincing call for decision-makers to step up on ambition, said the report.
Younger people showed the greatest concern, with 69% of those aged 14-18 saying there is a climate emergency, 58% of those over 60 agreed.
Regionally, the proportion of people who said climate change is a global emergency had a high level of support everywhere - in Western Europe and North America (72%), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (65%), Arab States (64%), Latin America and Caribbean (63%), Asia and Pacific (63%), and Sub-Saharan Africa (61%).
When asked about the policies that required more focus, four climate measures emerged as the most popular globally: the conservation of forests and land (54% public support); solar, wind and renewable power (53%); climate-friendly farming techniques (52%); and investing more in green businesses and jobs (50%).
Clean transportation was the fifth most popular climate policy overall and infrastructure to protect people from extreme weather events was the seventh most popular climate policy across all countries with support for early warning systems at roughly the same level.
The least-popular policies overall were plant-based diets and affordable insurance. Only 30% of people surveyed supported the promotion of plant-based diets, while public backing for affordable insurance was just 32%.
Answers varied by country depending on what aspect of climate change was impacting each region the most, the survey found.
In countries with high emissions from deforestation and land-use change, there was strong backing for conserving forests and land. For example, 60% of respondents in Brazil saw this measure as the most urgent one.
People backed renewable energy in eight of the ten survey countries with the highest emissions from electric heating being generated in the United States (65%), the biggest emitter surveyed, as well as Australia (76%), Canada (73%), Germany (71%), South Africa (69%), Japan (68%), Poland (57%), and Russia (51%).
The Peoples’ Climate Vote results were analyzed together with socio-demographic data provided by respondents, including gender, age, and level of education.
Analysis of the data provided showed that the most profound socio-demographic factor driving the urge to act on climate was a person’s educational background.
“The voice of the people is clear – they want action on climate change,” said Cassie Flynn, the UNDP’s strategic adviser on climate change. “If 64% of the world’s people are believing in a climate emergency then it helps governments to respond to the climate crisis as an emergency.
“The key message is that, as governments are making these high-stakes decisions, the people are with them.” she added.
“We are at a fork in the road and the poll says ‘this is how your future generations are thinking, in specific policy choices’ – it brings a way to envision the future."