Despite the pandemic, almost two thirds of people around the world now view climate change as a global emergency.
That’s the key finding from the largest opinion poll yet conducted on tackling global warming.
More than a million people in 50 countries took part in the survey, with almost half the participants aged between 14 and 18.
Conserving forests and land emerged as the most popular solution for tackling the issue.
So who has taken part?
The poll, called the “People’s Climate Vote”, has been organised by the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with Oxford University.
The organisers distributed poll questions through adverts in mobile gaming apps across 50 countries, between October and December last year.
Around 1.22 million people of all genders, ages, and educational backgrounds took part, but with significant numbers of younger people.
Some 550,000 people aged 14-18 took part.
What were the key findings?
Across all countries, 64% of participants saw climate change as an emergency, requiring urgent responses from countries. The margin of error was +/- 2%.
This result varied somewhat by age and location.
In the UK and Italy, 81% agreed with the question, while this dropped to 50% among those responding from Moldova.
Newly installed US President Joe Biden can take some comfort that 65% of those in the US taking part now view climate change as an emergency.
Overall, younger people were more likely to agree with the view that rising temperatures were an emergency, with nearly 70% in favour.
For people over the age of 60, this dropped to 58%.
“People are scared, they are seeing the the wildfires in Australia and California, they’re seeing the category five storms and in the Caribbean, they are seeing flooding in in Southeast Asia,” said Cassie Flynn, strategic adviser to the UNDP.
“And they’re looking around them and they’re saying, this is a real problem. We have to do something about this.”
Most popular policies
The actions that people tend to favour when it comes to tackling climate change depend, to some extent, on where people live.
In eight of the 10 countries with the highest emissions from generating electricity, there were majorities in favour of using more green energy.
But in countries with bigger emissions from deforestation and land use changes, there was majority support for conserving forests and land.
This emerged from the overall survey as the most popular policy for dealing with climate change, by a narrow margin.
Top four policies to tackle climate change:
- Conserve forests and land (54%)
- Use solar, wind and renewable power (53%)
- Climate friendly farming techniques(52%)
- Investing more money in green businesses and jobs (50%).