By Celine Lai

In 2020, the United Nations development agency, the UNDP, ran the world’s largest survey of public opinion on climate change.

Called “The People’s Climate Vote” the survey found that 64% of the 1.2 million people surveyed believe that climate change is a global emergency. The UNDP heralds 2021 as a pivotal year for climate action commitments, with a key round of negotiations set to take place at the UN Climate Summit in November in Glasgow, UK.

Covering 50 countries with over half of the world’s population, the survey includes over half a million people under the age of 18, a key constituency on climate change that is typically unable to vote yet in regular elections.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said: “The results of the survey clearly illustrate that urgent climate action has broad support amongst people around the globe, across nationalities, age, gender and education level.” 

But more than that, the poll reveals how people want their policymakers to tackle the crisis. 

“From climate-friendly farming to protecting nature and investing in a green recovery from COVID-19, the survey brings the voice of the people to the forefront of the climate debate. It signals ways in which countries can move forward with public support as we work together to tackle this enormous challenge.”

Policies had wide-ranging support, with the most popular being conserving forests and land (54% public support), more solar, wind and renewable power (53%), adopting climate-friendly farming techniques (52%), and investing more in green businesses and jobs (50%).

The survey shows a direct link between a person’s level of education and their desire for climate action. There was very high recognition of the climate emergency among those who had attended university or college in all countries, from lower-income countries such as Bhutan (82%) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (82%), to wealthy countries like France (87%) and Japan (82%). 

When it comes to age, younger people (under 18) were more likely to say climate change is an emergency than older people. Nevertheless, other age groups were not far behind, with 65% of those aged 18-35, 66% aged 36-59 and 58% of those over 60, illustrating how widely held this view has become.

[ Source:   UNDP News Centre ]

Global public perspectives are needed now more than ever as countries around the world are in the process of developing new national climate pledges – known as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs – under the Paris Agreement.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference will begin on Monday, 1 November and ends on Friday, 12 November.  Also called COP26 or the Conference of the Parties number 26, RenewEconomy shows that Australia is going to COP26 without any adjustment to its 2030 emissions reductions target, with either a watered-down net-zero by 2050 target or none at all, and a suite of climate policies that, by design, do nothing to reduce emissions in either the short or the long term. 

With the changes to the U.S. administration, the beat has been set for fast-tracking the reduction of greenhouse gases world-wide. It’s time to call governments across Australia to account.


Will YOU help lead our Australian and State Governments to march to this beat?


Download the UNDP Survey findings here.


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