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Four in five people want more climate action: UN survey

The sun sets behind overhead power lines in Kuwait City as the government requested citizens to ration their electricity usage amid soaring temperatures
The sun sets behind overhead power lines in Kuwait City as the government requested citizens to ration their electricity usage amid soaring temperatures.

Four in every five people want their country to strengthen its commitments to addressing climate change, according to a global poll of 75,000 participants published on Thursday.

The survey by the UN Development Program, Oxford University and GeoPoll posed 15 questions by randomized telephone calls to people in 77 countries representing 87 percent of the world's population.

The key finding was that 80 percent of respondents want their governments to increase efforts to fight against global warming.

Poorer countries beat this drum the loudest, with 89 percent in favor, though appetite is also high in the wealthy G20 nations (76 percent), according to the survey.

China (73 percent) and the United States (66 percent)—the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters—also saw a majority of respondents in favor of climate action.

"As world leaders decide on the next round of pledges under the Paris Agreement by 2025, these results are undeniable evidence that people everywhere support bold climate action," said Cassie Flynn, UNDP global climate director.

A majority of respondents in 62 of the 77 countries surveyed said they supported a quick transition away from to clean energy.

These included China (80 percent) and the United States (54 percent), but in Russia just 16 percent of poll participants were in favor.

People around the world overwhelmingly support stronger climate action
Chart showing reponses by country to a survey conducted by UNDP in which respondents were asked, "should your country strengthen or weaken its commitments to address climate change?"

Worries about global warming have also increased, the survey found, with 56 percent saying they think about climate change at least once a week.

Over half (53 percent) of those surveyed said they were more worried about than last year, compared with 15 percent who said they were less worried.

Leading the rise in climate anxiety is Fiji, where 80 percent are more concerned compared to a year ago, followed by Afghanistan (78 percent) and Turkey (77 percent).

Saudi Arabia saw the lowest increase in climate fears, with 25 percent more worried, followed by Russia (34 percent), Czech Republic (36 percent) and China (39 percent).

More than two-thirds of survey respondents (69 percent) said that had impacted their life decisions, such as where to live or work and what to buy.

A majority of people globally now think about climate change daily or weekly
Chart showing responses by country to a survey conducted by the UNDP in which repondents were asked, "how often do you think about climate change?"

But Achim Steiner, head of the UNDP, said these concerns do not necessarily translate into electoral and consumer decisions.

"I would do more. But the others won't. So I will not do anything," Steiner said of what he called people's "perception gap" on climate action.

© 2024 AFP

Citation: Four in five people want more climate action: UN survey (2024, June 20) retrieved 17 July 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-06-people-climate-action-survey.html
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