People Vote for Climate Action

By Foresight | Laura Cagiagli


"UNDP’s “Peoples’ Climate Vote” asked 1.2 million people in 50 countries, many of them young, whether they think climate change is a global emergency, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and if they support wide-ranging action. Sixty-four per cent of participants agreed and the countries with the highest level of awareness of the climate emergency were Italy and the UK, the hosts of the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP26)."



There is an overwhelming belief that climate change is a global emergency. This is the conclusion reached by The Peoples’ Climate Vote, the largest survey ever taken of public opinion on climate change recently published by the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP.


“This is an unprecedented moment: even during a COVID-19 pandemic two-thirds of people around the world are seeing climate change as an emergency that must be addressed”, commented Cassie Flynn, the UNDP’s strategic adviser on climate change while illustrating the results of the survey. “The poll cuts across 50 countries in 17 languages. It has a randomized selection of people (over a million people) that represent 56% of the world’s population. We’ve never seen anything at this scale before”.


"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." Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme


“Younger people (under 18ndr) were more likely to say climate change is an emergency than older people.” This comes as no surprise given the tremendous momentum and leadership whoen by young people in demanding climate action. “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, illustrating how widely held this view has become […] The voices of young people are critically important, because this is their future: they are going to be directly impacted by the decisions that are made on COVID-19 or on climate. So, what we wanted to do was to bring the voices of people in a very meaningful way while asking them ‘How do we solve it? What do you want your government to do?”


“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,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said. “But more than that, the poll reveals howpeople want their policymakers to tackle the crisis. 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.”


Three climate policies emerged as the most popular of the 18 proposed to respondents: conserve forests and land (54%), use solar, wind and renewable power (53%), and climate-friendly farming techniques (52%). There was only a 24% difference between the most popular and least popular climate policy (promote plant-based diets). The results indicate a broad-based appetite for policy action in response to climate change, but there needs to be more outreach to explain how some of the policies can address it, and how they benefit citizens.


Source: Foresight | UNDP

Read more @Foresight



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