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Majority of world population believe climate change is global emergency

By Alvin Mwangi
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Climate change. Photo/Courtesy
In summary

Sixty-four percent(64%) of the world population believe climate change is a global emergency, according to a United Nations poll.

The survey, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Oxford engaged 1.22 million people in 50 countries.

Respondents were asked if climate change was a global emergency and whether they supported eighteen 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 the 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.

Prof. Stephen Fisher, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, 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."

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