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UN survey of 50 countries shows public support for action on climate change

EU Biden Climate World Reaction
Posted at 1:55 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:55:03-05

GENEVA — A majority of people polled in a massive survey conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) say wide-ranging action needs to be taken to address climate change.

The survey published Tuesday covered 50 countries with over half of the world’s population. UNDP calls it the world’s largest ever survey of public opinion on climate change.

Over all 50 countries, UNDP reports 64% of people said climate chance was an emergency. Of those people, 59% said the world should do everything necessary and urgently in response.

Meanwhile, UNDP reports 20% said we should act slowly and 10% of people thought the world is already doing enough.

In the survey, respondents were asked whether they supported 18 key climate policies across six action areas: economy, energy, transport, food and farms, nature and protecting people.

According to UNDP, results show people often want broad climate policies beyond the current state of play. For example, in eight of the 10 survey countries with the highest emissions from the power sector, majorities backed more renewable energy.

"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. But more than that, the poll reveals how people want their policymakers to tackle the crisis,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner in a statement. “From climate-friendly farming to protecting nature and investing in a green recovery from COVID-19, the survey brings the voice of the people to the forefront of the climate debate. It signals ways in which countries can move forward with public support as we work together to tackle this enormous challenge."

Policies had wide-ranging support, with the most popular being conserving forests and land, more solar, wind and renewable power, adopting climate-friendly farming techniques, and investing more in green businesses and jobs.

The survey also shows a direct link between a person’s level of education and their desire for climate action. There was very high recognition of the climate emergency among those who had attended university or college in all countries.

When it comes to age, younger people (under 18) were more likely to say climate change is an emergency than older people. Nevertheless, other age groups were not far behind, with 65% of those aged 18-35, 66% aged 36-59 and 58% of those over 60.