Climate Call: Public opinion is on the side of climate action

By: |
February 3, 2021 6:05 AM

The People’s Climate Vote surveyed 1.2 million people in 50 countries, on 18 key climate policies across six broad areas (energy, transport, economy, food and farms, nature, and protecting people); a large number of the respondents were youth.

The poll also noted a direct correlation between the education level of respondents and responses favouring climate actions. (Representative image)

The public opinion on the need for climate action has gotten stronger over the years, and governments that are reluctant to act could soon find themselves losing the favour of the governed. A recent UN Development Programme (UNDP) poll—the first such ever—found that 64% of the respondents across the globe saw climate change as a global emergency. The People’s Climate Vote surveyed 1.2 million people in 50 countries, on 18 key climate policies across six broad areas (energy, transport, economy, food and farms, nature, and protecting people); a large number of the respondents were youth.

People from island nations—these face the most risk from warming—overwhelmingly voted for climate action, and the proportion of pro-climate-action respondents was higher in middle-income nations than developed countries; bear in mind, the developed countries growth over the past many decades has shrunk the emission room for other countries as they pursue growth. The poll also noted a direct correlation between the education level of respondents and responses favouring climate actions.

The poll findings present governments with the inevitable—they have to get proactive on climate or face rejection from the coming generation of voters/workers. With growing consensus on climate action, climate-progressive nations need to push back against the small club of denialists/reluctants—the current dispensation in Brazil, for instance—at the appropriate fora. Trade action against goods/services with a heavy emission footprint could be one way to ensure action by governments that continue to resist climate science.

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