69% of Teens Worldwide Believe Climate Change Is an Emergency

Date: 2021-01-27 23:30:04

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Teenagers in some of the world’s top polluting nations are the strongest believers that global warming is an emergency, according to the largest-ever climate opinion poll.

Globally, 69% of people under 18 years old believe climate change is an emergency, compared with 58% of those older than 60, according to a survey of 1.2 million people across 50 countries by the United Nations’ Development Program and the University of Oxford. The study doesn’t include China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“Recognition of the climate emergency is much more widespread than previously thought,” Stephen Fisher, a sociology professor at the University of Oxford and a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “We’ve also found that most people clearly want a strong and wide-raging policy response.”

Overall, 64% of respondents believe global warming is an emergency and, of those, 59% said an urgent response is needed. Conserving land and forests, boosting renewable power and using climate-friendly farming techniques were the most favored solutions. Making companies pay for pollution garnered high support, especially in high-income countries.

The People’s Climate Vote survey offers rare insight into the generation of young people that in 2018 and 2019 led mass demonstrations across the world calling for climate action through platforms such as the Fridays for Future movement. To reach them, the UN took an unconventional approach to polling by distributing the survey across mobile gaming networks. A total of 1.22 million people took the survey, of which 550,000 were under 18.

Young people in the U.K. and Italy were the most strongly convinced there’s a climate emergency, with 86% of respondents under 18 supporting the idea. Fewer teenagers in Moldova (61%), the Kyrgyz Republic (62%), Sri Lanka (62%) and Argentina (63%) said climate change is an emergency, but even then the difference with those older than 60 was around 20 percentage points in these countries.

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