CLIMATE AND PUBLIC OPINIONS INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATORY
Great concern about climate change
World citizens are concerned about many different environmental problems: accumulation of waste (packaging, plastic…) seems to be the most worrisome (52% of respondents rank it first in their country), ahead of air pollution (45%) and climate change itself, which ranks 3rd on a global level (40%)… although extreme climate events (flooding, drought, hurricanes…), are frequently mentioned, espcially in Japan, Australia and Spain.
Its reality is no longer questioned, but its origin still is
Today, this phenomenon is a reality accepted by almost all the respondents worldwide: 92% are convinced that climate change is a reality and 62% definitely so. The question that remains relates more to its cause: 69% think that climate change is caused by human activity but almost one quarter of the population (23%) attribute it to a natural or unknown phenomenon, particularly in countries with high CO2 emission levels like Saudi Arabia, Australia, the USA or China, but also in Norway for example.Photo credits : EDF - Murat Guillaume
Continued confusion about the role of energies in climate
The respondents view greenhouse gas emissions as the main cause of climate change and correctly identify the countries with the highest emissions. However, they also attribute it to other phenomena, such as air pollution or the hole in the ozone layer. The sectors with the highest emissions, for them, are industry, transport and deforestation, much more than electricity production, despite it being a heavy user of fossil fuels. Respondents worldwide also clearly identify coal and gas as CO2 producers. Nuclear energy for its part, although decarbonized, divides the population with over 50% thinking that it produces CO2.
Mobilization should be driven by governments
Citizens express their key expectations of governments: for 70% of them, these are the first players who must take action, far ahead of citizens and companies. To date however, scientists are viewed as the ones taking the most action, ahead of NGOs and citizens… However, citizen mobilization is viewed as being stable in the last 12 months by 42% of the population (and by 35% as increasing). On the other hand, fewer than half of them (48%) think that their government is really taking action today, particularly in Europe..Photo credits : EDF - Colin Matthieu
Everyday actions are still modest
While almost one third of respondents hope for a solution stemming from technological innovations, the majority think that the fight against climate change primarily requires a change in life styles. Three-quarters of citizens claim to have done this in recent years. However, everyday actions are carried out systematically (or almost) by less than 50% on a global level. Topping the list of actions are sorting waste (48%, particularly in Europe), consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables (40%) and limiting heating or air conditioning (33%). On the other hand, limiting the use of individual transport is still difficult for most people and restrictive measures in these areas would be very unpopular.