Global Opinion Sees Climate Crisis As Serious As Covid-19, New Survey Finds

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New polling conducted by global market research and public opinion firm Ipsos finds that the general public believe that in the long-term, climate change is as serious a crisis as the current coronavirus pandemic. The survey was conducted across 29 countries, and also finds widespread public support for prioritising a “green” economic recovery from the pandemic. 

In a new survey conducted by Ipsos between February and March this year, world public opinion sees the long-term issue of climate change as serious as the current coronavirus pandemic, with an average of 71% agreeing with the statement across the countries surveyed.

Participants of the poll from China were most likely to believe that the climate crisis is as serious a risk at 87% agreeing with the statement. Although respondents from the United States and Australia were the least likely to agree, well over half of the sample – 59% – still believed climate change was on par a crisis with coronavirus. 

Widespread global public opinion also sees the importance of prioritising environmental issues in the economic recovery after the pandemic is over. Globally, 65% agreed with the statement to support a “green” climate-forward recovery plan. Respondents from India, Mexico and China showed the greatest support at 81%, 80% and 80% respectively. 

The results further showed that people do not believe that economic policies to help the recovery should come at the expense of the environment. While the data showed that 44% of all people surveyed across the 29 countries believed the economic recovery must come first and foremost, still a larger portion of the respondents – 48% – said that environmentally-damaging actions need to be ruled out. 

In line with the sentiment that climate change is a serious threat to the planet, citizens across the world are displaying greater willingness to take actions to improve the sustainability of their lifestyles. In particular, 57% globally said they are likely to avoid products that are heavily packaged and 52% saying they will avoid purchasing new goods in favour of repair and resale. 

While there still lacks a majority of citizens willing to make more far-reaching lifestyle changes, a significant percentage of people will begin key changes such as avoiding flying (41%), eating less meat (41%) and replacing dairy products with alternatives (35%)

Last year, flygskam became a trending term to describe the phenomenon of flight-shaming or the guilt associated with air travel due to its environmental impact. Plant-based diets have also exploded in popularity as more shoppers become aware of the carbon footprint of meat and dairy consumption, and are now aided by a plethora of vegan substitutes that have become widely available in cities across the world.

As the coronavirus continues to expose the environmental, health and safety vulnerabilities of the global food system, it has become increasingly clear that it is no longer viable for the world to return to business-as-usual once the pandemic begins to ease. With more widespread calls around the world for a greater focus on the climate emergency, governments must take heed and make drastic changes in order for humanity to continue living sustainably on earth. 


Lead image courtesy of EPA.


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