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Do whatever it takes to limit climate change, says global population



Some 63% of the global population think world leaders should ‘do whatever it takes’ to limit climate change and a further 26% want to see ambitious action, according to a new poll.

Over 10,000 people in 79 countries were questioned about their views on climate change and the actions that should be taken. The Worldwide Views on Climate and Energy survey involved people from both developed and developing countries and comes ahead of world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to discuss an international climate change agreement.

The findings suggest that at the UN climate negotiations the majority of people want their representative to present bold commitments and push for a strong global deal that will limit global warming to 2C above preindustrial levels. The outcomes of a similar conference in 1992 are described as not having done enough by over 70% of participants.

Answers also indicate that the public is aware that both mitigation and adaption measures will be needed in the coming decades, with 63% stating the focus should be spread equally between these two areas.

The desire for action is reflected in the number of people that are worried about the impacts of a  changing climate. Some 97% described themselves as either ‘very concerned’ or ‘moderately concerned’, compared to the 1.9% that state they are not at all worried.

Two thirds of those participating also take a positive view on measures that aim to tackle climate change, arguing they are mostly an opportunity to improve quality of life. In contrast, just over a quarter of respondents believe such measures are a threat to their quality of life.

When asked the best way to tackle climate change almost six in ten people responded that solutions should be implemented globally. When asked what approaches participants would prefer for making large-scale cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, subsidisation for low-carbon energy and support for research and development of low carbon technology came out top, receiving support from 56% and 45% respectively.

Furthermore, 45% would like to see the a stop to all exploration of all fossil fuel reserves and some 87% would support a carbon tax, although some respondents would like the tax to be graduated according to level of development and others want costs to gradually increase in countries that do not reduce their emissions.

Photo:  Martin Nikolaj Bech via Flickr

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Further reading:

Majority of Brits back ethical investment and two-thirds think fossil fuels are ‘risky’

UK among G7 countries that have increased coal use

Poll: over a quarter of Brits don’t believe climate change is a serious problem

Majority of public unaware of scientific climate consensus

Earth Day: public urged to take climate action