People’s climate vote shows global support for stronger climate action – global issues

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A Himalayan settlement in the Everest region of Nepal. The impact of climate change is more intense in the mountain region than in others. Photo: Tanka Dhakal/IPS
  • by Tanka Dhakal (Kathmandu)
  • Inter-Press Office

According to the Peoples’ Climate Vote 2024 (PCV2024), 86 percent want their country to put aside geopolitical differences and work together on climate change.

The UN Development Program (UNDP) worked with the University of Oxford in Britain and GeoPoll on the survey, which asked 15 questions about climate change to more than 75,000 people in 77 countries speaking 87 different languages. The report, released today (Thursday, June 20, 2024), claims to be the largest single climate change poll ever conducted. The questions are designed to help understand how people experience the impacts of climate change and how they want world leaders to respond. The 77 countries surveyed represent 87 percent of the world’s population.

“The People’s Climate Vote is loud and clear. They want their leaders to transcend their differences, act now and act boldly to combat the climate crisis,” said UNDP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The survey results – unprecedented in their reporting – reveal a level of consensus that is truly astonishing. We urge leaders and policymakers to take note, especially as countries develop their next round of climate action pledges, or ‘nationally determined contributions’ under the Paris Agreement. This is an issue that almost everyone, everywhere, can agree on.”

Climate change is keeping people’s attention worldwide

Regardless of the differences, people around the world reported that climate change was on their minds. According to the report, 56 percent globally say they think about it regularly (daily or weekly), and about 63 percent of those in the least developed countries (LDCs), which are on the front lines of climate change impacts, are waiting for external support to adapt and soften.

The report shows that concerns about climate change are increasing; 53 percent, or more than half, of people worldwide said they were more concerned about climate change than last year. Again, concerns are greater in the least developed countries (LDCs), where 59 percent of people experience anxiety related to climate change. On average, as many as 71 percent of the nine small island developing states surveyed said they were more concerned about climate change than last year.

Climate change affects people’s most important decisions. The report says that 69 percent of people worldwide say their big decisions, such as where to live or work, are affected by climate change. The proportion affected was higher in the least developed countries (74 percent), but significantly lower in Western and Northern Europe (52 percent) and North America (42 percent).

People are in favor of phasing out fossil fuels

The survey results also show that there is overwhelming support for a faster transition away from fossil fuels. When leaders have met for climate summits for a few years now, their biggest disagreement has been on phasing out fossil fuels, but people aren’t just calling for stronger climate action; they also want a transition to ‘green energy’.

The research shows that a global majority of 72 percent is in favor of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. This applies to countries that are among the top 10 largest producers of oil, coal and gas, including an 89 percent majority in Nigeria and Türkiye, 80 percent in China, 76 percent in Germany, 75 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia , 69 percent in Australia, and 54 percent of people in the United States. Only 7 percent of people worldwide said their country should not make a transition at all.

People support stronger climate action in 20 of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, with majorities ranging from 66 percent of people in the United States and Russia to 67 percent in Germany, 73 percent in China, 77 percent in South Africa and India, 85 percent in Brazil, 88 percent in Iran and up to 93 percent in Italy.

Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States – in these five major emitters, women were more in favor of strengthening their country’s obligations by 10 to 17 percentage points. This gap was widest in Germany, where women were 17 percentage points more likely than men to want more climate action (75 percent versus 58 percent).

In addition, a majority of people in every country surveyed said rich countries should provide more aid to poorer countries to tackle climate change. The poorest countries – those most immediately in need of international support to tackle climate change – were likely to be in favor of rich countries providing more aid to poorer countries – by more than 30 percent – ​​than the world’s richest countries – 94 percent in Bhutan and 64 percent in the United States of America. Globally, about eight in 10 people said they wanted rich countries to provide more support to poorer countries.

Support for climate change education in schools

The survey results showed that people want climate change courses in schools; Four in five people, or 80 percent globally, called on schools in their country to teach more about the related topic. The report says education is a crucial part of tackling the problem of climate change. Particularly in schools, young people need to learn about the impact of our changing climate and have the opportunity to learn how to adapt to it and help identify future solutions.

A large majority in all countries want schools in their country to do more to educate people about climate change. Significantly higher percentages of people in least developed countries (93 percent) supported more climate change education, compared to 74 percent in G20 countries. In Haiti, 99 percent of people want more climate change education in schools. But in some countries support is low: just 29 percent in the US, 26 percent in Indonesia and 21 percent in Papua New Guinea.

Evidence to develop climate action

This is the first time the public has been asked about climate change in a way that relates to their daily lives, and experts say this is important for the discussions ahead.

The first Peoples’ Climate Vote took place in 2021 and surveyed people in 50 countries through ads on popular mobile gaming apps.

Prof. Stephen Fisher, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, said: “A study of this scale was a huge scientific effort. While a strict methodology was maintained, special efforts were also made to include people from marginalized groups in the poorest parts of the world. This is some of the very best global data on public opinion on climate change available.

As world leaders decide the next round of commitments under the Paris Agreement by 2025, these results look set to make an impact as evidence that people around the world support bold climate action.

The Peoples’ Climate Vote has collected the votes of people around the world, including groups that have traditionally been the most difficult to poll. For example, people in nine of the 77 countries surveyed had never before been asked about climate change,” said Cassie Flynn, Global Director of Climate Change, UNDP.

“The next two years represent one of the best opportunities we have as an international community to ensure that warming remains below 1.5°C. We stand ready to support policymakers in stepping up their efforts in developing their climate action plans.”

IPS UN agency report

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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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