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Goal 13: Climate Action


It’s the biggest survey into attitudes towards the climate ever: the UN Climate Survey results are in

By Leanne Walstow
21 July 2022

In January 2021, the United Nations has revealed the results of its extensive survey into people’s attitudes towards climate change. Involving over 1.2 million people from around the world, spanning all age groups and economic situations, the survey results can be read as a pretty accurate picture of global thoughts on climate. Here are the main take-aways from the survey...

Climate Concern

Almost two thirds of respondents said that they believe we are in a climate emergency, with levels of concern being highest amongst those ages 14-16 where 69% agreed with the statement. Interestingly, 58% of those aged over 60 also deemed us to be in a climate crisis, showing that the generational gap in attitude may not be as wide as previously thought.

Majority support for green policies

As to how we might go about solving the climate crisis, policies in general had majority support, including 54% supporting the conservation of forests and land (the most popular solution), more green, renewable energy had 53% backing, climate-friendly farming techniques 52% and more green investment in business having an approval rate of 50%. Eating a plant-based diet was the least popular option with only 30% supporting the notion - because this survey was conducted worldwide it is worth bearing in mind that vegan options and plant-based alternatives are not readily available globally.

Education makes a difference

The survey also revealed a direct link between education and concern for the climate, with those attending university or college showing more willingness to recognise the climate emergency. This link was maintained regardless of the income level of specific countries, with educated individuals from lower-income countries still showing a high level of awareness - in Bhutan 82% of educated individuals agreed we are in a climate crisis, exactly the same percentage as higher-income Japan, also on 82%.

People want Climate Action

Cassie Flynn, the UNDP’s strategic advisor has offered this comment on the results of the survey: ‘The voice of the people is clear – they want action on climate change. If 64% of the world’s people are believing in a climate emergency then it helps governments to respond to the climate crisis as an emergency.’

This article was originally published in 2021 and has since been updated. 

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