Western Morning News

Survey says majority fear climate change


MORE than four-fifths of people in the UK think climate change is a global emergency, the highest level of concern across 50 countries in a worldwide poll published yesterday.

More than 1.2 million people around the world took part in the “people’s climate vote” conducted by the United Nations Developmen­t Programme (UNDP) and the University of Oxford, including more than half a million under-18s.

Although the survey took place last autumn as the coronaviru­s pandemic continued to rage, there was widespread recognitio­n of the global climate emergency – among older people as well as the young.

Conserving forests, using renewables, adopting climate-friendly farming techniques, and investing more money in green businesses were the most popular options for tackling the crisis.

Among those who believed in the climate emergency, a majority across almost all countries wanted all the necessary action taken urgently.

The survey, which reached people via adverts on popular mobile gaming apps, showed that overall 64% of respondent­s thought climate change was a global emergency, ranging from 69% of under-18s to 58% of over-60s.

The figure climbed to 81% among those in the UK and in Italy, who topped the poll, while at least half of respondent­s in all countries said they thought there was a global climate emergency.

In the UK, where 21,189 people responded to the survey, youngsters were also more likely to think that climate change was a global emergency, with 86% of under-18s saying it was.

The figure was over 80% for both the 18-35 and the 36-59 age groups, and, although the over-60s were slightly more sceptical, 78% of them believed climate change was a global emergency – the highest level worldwide for their age group.

Recognitio­n of the global emergency was slightly higher among those who had post-secondary education (85%) than those without (79%), and among women and girls (84%) than men and boys (78%).

Out of 18 environmen­tal policy options people could show their support for, the most popular in the UK were using solar, wind and renewable power, conserving land and forests and keeping the ocean and waterways healthy – each backed by more than four-fifths of people. The least popular option was promoting plant-based diets, which was supported by 43% of those who took part.

The peoples’ climate vote was conducted from October 7 to December 4, 2020, by distributi­ng poll questions through adverts in popular mobile telephone gaming apps to 50 countries. More than 30 million invites to the survey were issued to people when they played mobile games such as Words With Friends, Angry Birds, Dragon City or Subway Surfers.

Survey results were included from 1.22 million people who answered at least some questions on climate and all three demographi­c questions, on gender, age group and education level. The findings were then weighted by polling experts at Oxford University to be as representa­tive as possible for each country.

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