World

2 out of 3 people acknowledge climate emergency: Global poll

Preferred solutions include protecting forests and natural habitats, followed by developing renewable power

PARIS Nearly two-thirds of 1.2 million people polled worldwide say humanity faces a climate emergency, according to a UN survey, the largest of its kind ever undertaken.

Young and old, rich and poor, respondents in 50 nations also chose from a score of policy options to tackle the problem, researchers at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Oxford reported yesterday.

"Concern about the climate emergency is far more widespread than we knew before," sociologist Stephen Fisher at Oxford who helped design the survey and process the data, told AFP.

"And the large majority of those who do recognise a climate emergency want urgent and comprehensive action."

In a clever innovation, the short survey popped up like an advertisement on cellphone game apps, giving researchers access to demographics that might not otherwise respond to a public opinion poll.

At the national level, some 80 per cent of people in Britain, Italy and Japan expressed serious foreboding.

France, Germany, South Africa and Canada were close behind, with more than three-quarters describing the threat as a "global emergency".

In another dozen countries - including the US, Russia, Vietnam and Brazil - two-thirds saw things the same way.

Nearly 75 per cent of residents in small island states also saw the threat as an emergency.

They were followed by high-income countries (72 per cent), middle-income nations (62 per cent), and least developed countries (58 per cent).

YOUNGER GENERATION

The survey showed the younger generation cares more than their parents and grandparents. Close to 70 per cent under 18 believe climate change is a global emergency versus 58 per cent of those over 60.

"Urgent climate action has broad support... around the globe - across nationalities, age, gender and education," noted UNDP chief Achim Steiner. "But more than that, the poll reveals how people want their policymakers to tackle the crisis."

The most popular solution was protecting the forests and natural habitats, selected by 54 per cent of respondents.

Following closely were the development of solar, wind and other forms of renewable power; the use of "climate-friendly" farming techniques; and investing more in green businesses and jobs.

The bottom of the list included, at 30 per cent, the promotion of meat-free diets. - AFP, REUTERS

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