U.N. poll: Majority want wide-ranging action on climate change

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Jan. 27 (UPI) — More than two-thirds of the world’s population believe climate change constitutes “a global emergency,” according to the findings of the world’s largest-ever conducted opinion poll on climate change.

Published by the United Nations Development Program, the Peoples’ Climate Vote showed that 64% of people said climate change was a global emergency.

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By age, the survey found that those 18 years old and under were more likely to describe climate change as a global emergency at 69%, followed by 65% of those 18 to 35, 66% of those 36 to 59 and 58% of those over 60.

Among nations, 74% of respondents from small island developing states called climate change a global emergency followed by high-income countries at 72%, middle-come countries at 62% and the least developed countries at 58%.

“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 in a statement Wednesday. “But more than that, the poll reveals how people want their policymakers to tackle the crisis.”

Some 1.22 million people in 50 countries that is home to 56% of the world’s population responded to the survey, the UNDP said, adding it was conducted with England’s University of Oxford in 17 languages through advertisements in mobile game applications to generate a random sample of people of all genders, ages and educational backgrounds.

“The survey — the biggest-ever survey of public opinion on climate change — has shown us that mobile gaming networks can not only reach a lot of people, they can engage different kinds of people in a diverse group of countries,” Prof. Stephen Fisher at the department of sociology at the University of Oxford said. “The Peoples’ Climate Vote has delivered a treasure trove of data on public opinion that we’ve never seen before.”

UNDP said the survey’s main goal is to connect the public to policymakers in order to provide the latter with information on climate change and how their constituents want it addressed.

The survey also said the four most popular climate policies worldwide were conservation of forests and land at 54%, renewable power at 53%, climate-friendly farming techniques at 52% and investing more in green businesses and jobs at 50%.

Meanwhile, the least popular policies overall were plant-based diets and affordable insurance, which garnered support from only 30% and 32% of respondents, respectively.