THE world’s biggest-ever survey of public opinion on climate change has shown that 64% of people believe it is a global emergency.
The results of the Peoples’ Climate Vote, published today, will be shared with governments in a pivotal year for climate action, with negotiations due at the UN Climate Summit in November in Glasgow, UK.
The survey, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Oxford, engaged 1.22m people in 50 countries. It was distributed across mobile gaming networks in order to include hard-to-reach audiences, including 550,000 people under 18 – a key constituency on climate change.
Respondents were asked if climate change was a global emergency and whether they supported 18 key climate policies across six areas: economy, energy, transport, food & farms, nature and protecting people.
The most popular climate policies were conserving forests and land (54% public support), more solar, wind and renewable power (53%), adopting climate-friendly farming techniques (52%) and investing more in green businesses and jobs (50%).
Results showed support for broad climate policies beyond the current state of play. In eight of the ten survey countries with the highest emissions from the power sector, majorities backed more renewable energy.
In four out of the five countries with highest emissions from land-use change, there was majority support for conserving forests and land. Nine out of ten of the countries with most urbanized populations backed increased use of clean electric cars and buses, or bicycles.
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said: “The results clearly illustrate that urgent climate action has broad support amongst people around the globe, across nationalities, age, gender and education level.
“But more than that, the poll reveals how people want their policymakers to tackle the crisis and signals ways in which countries can move forward with public support as we work together to tackle this enormous challenge.”
Younger people (aged 14-18) were more likely to say climate change is an emergency than older people, with nearly 70% saying this. Other age groups were not far behind, with 65% of those 18-35 agreeing, 66% aged 36-59, and 58% over 60.
Professor Stephen Fisher of Oxford University’s department of sociology, said: “The Peoples’ Climate Vote has delivered a treasure trove of data on public opinion that we’ve never seen before. Recognition of the climate emergency is much more widespread than previously thought and most people clearly want a strong and wide-raging policy response.”