In a poll commissioned by United Kingdom based organisation Hope Not Hate, the majority of people agree that the planet is facing a climate “emergency” and politicians are failing to combat the problem. Despite climate breakdown being widely perceived as the most urgent issue of our time, governments are still backing the interests of oil corporations over the health and wellbeing of citizens.
The survey comes ahead of the Global Climate Strikes planned this September, projected to be joined by millions of students and environmental activists from all over the world. The poll involved more than 1,000 participants across 8 countries, and found that climate breakdown was ranked the most urgent issue above migration, terrorism and the economy.
The overall result was that at least 75% of the public in the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, Brazil, France, Poland and the United States believe that the world’s vulnerability to climate change is “extremely dangerous”. An overwhelming majority also reported that they are already experiencing climate events that pose a direct threat to their lives, such as extreme weather patterns like floods and heatwaves.
While the poll only collected results from North America and Europe, those living in Asia would too agree with the urgent need to tackle climate change as it is set to wreak havoc on the region. Home to roughly 60% of the world’s population, prolonged dry spells and flooding, rising sea levels from global warming and ever frequent mega storms and typhoons are already happening right now.
Respondents also highlighted frustrations about the lack of action from politicians. Under a quarter of those surveyed thought that governments were making adequate measures to combat climate change. Crucially, these findings underline the high awareness amongst ordinary public citizens about the scale of the global climate crisis, and the need for decisive action to tackle the pressures brought on by climate change, which could exacerbate other worldwide issues like racism, polarisation and political conflict.
Commenting on these results, the European Climate Foundation’s CEO Laurence Tubiana told The Guardian that it “reconfirms what the growing numbers of people striking for climate action are saying: We’re worried, we know we can do more, leaders, we need you to step up and unite behind the science.”
The business-as-usual approach is also continuing in Asia, where the region, with its booming population, is bringing a whole host of demands on the planet, leaving behind a massive carbon footprint. It is clear that we must disrupt the prevailing mindset that governments have taken. There is no more time to ignore climate change, and these results should place pressure on the world leaders that are preparing for the UN Climate Action Summit to take place in New York next week. As Greta Thunberg has just reiterated in her confrontation with the United States Congress, state governments and politicians must listen to the science now, and take real steps, not just mutter words.
This article is a part of Green Queen’s collaboration in the Covering Climate Now project, a week-long initiative to raise global awareness of our planet’s climate emergency.
Lead image courtesy of Flickr / Black Rock Solar.