One of the world's largest surveys conducted by the United Nations Development Programme has revealed that climate change is the biggest concern for 64% of the respondents from 50 countries. The 'Peoples 'Climate Vote' surveyed over 1.2 million people who overwhelmingly voted for more stringent actions to combat global warming and climate change.
Younger people between the age of 18-35 were more likely to say that climate change was an "emergency", the report reveals. 66% of those aged 36-59 said the same while 50% of those aged 60 and above considered climate change to be an emergency reflecting widespread awareness on environmental issues.
Researchers also found that higher education strongly correlated to climate change awareness and desires to make a change with greater recognition of climate change in college-educated respondents even from lower-income countries like Bhutan (82%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This could also contribute to the gender gap seen in recognising climate change as a cause of concern in countries like India and Vietcong where more men than women recognised climate change as an emergency. Researchers postulate that access to education explains why women in highly educated countries like Canada and the United States were more likely to recognise a climate emergency.
Conservation of forests and land were the most popular policies voted for with 54% public support while developing solar, wind and renewable power came in at 53%. Climate-friendly farming techniques were popular but received less enthusiastic responses in countries with large-scale agricultural sectors like the Philippines and Egypt.
The survey was administered via mobile gaming apps which allowed for a greater sample of the population to be taken including groups that were traditionally harder to reach like those under 18.
"It is the first time that large-scale polling of public opinion has ever been conducted on the topic of climate change," the UNDP noted on its website where the poll was published. "2021 is a pivotal year for countries' climate action commitments, with a key round of negotiations set to take place at the UN Climate Summit in November in Glasgow, UK."