Popular support for governments to take tough action on climate change is growing around the world, according to a BBC World Service opinion poll.
The survey of over 30,000 people notes that 56% want their countries to play a leadership role in the crucial COP26 meeting next week.
The desire to see ambitious goals set in Glasgow has grown dramatically since 2015.
Concern about climate change is also at its highest since 1998.
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Presidents and prime ministers of some 120 countries will gather in Glasgow next week for the COP26 conference, called the last, best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.
Recent research shows that the plans so far on the table will not prevent global temperatures from exceeding 1.5C this century, a level that scientists say is the gateway to extreme impacts.
The UK, which chairs the talks, hopes that in negotiations with the leaders they will be able to find a path that cuts emissions fast enough to stay below 1.5 ° C.
This new poll suggests that people in rich and poor nations alike are in favor of the idea of greater ambition on the part of their leaders.
In the 31 countries surveyed, an average of 56% of people want their governments to set stricter targets that address climate change as quickly as possible.
Another 36% want their government to take a more moderate approach and support gradual action.
Only 8% want their governments to oppose a deal.
In the 18 countries where a similar survey was conducted prior to COP21 in Paris in 2015, the expectation of governments playing a leading role has grown dramatically.
In 2015, 43% of respondents wanted strong action, but it has now risen to 58%.
“Prior to the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015, global public opinion showed relatively strong expectations that governments would reach an ambitious agreement on climate change, which ultimately is what emerged,” said Chris Coulter, CEO of Globescan. , which led out of the survey.
“Now, ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow next week, we are seeing significantly higher levels of expectations – a 25% increase worldwide – for governments to strike an ambitious deal. a relatively short period of time. and the implications are that governments that do not meet these expectations could face political consequences. “
There are some interesting changes in some of the most emitting countries, particularly China, where the percentage of respondents wishing to see their country play a leadership role has increased from 18% in 2015 to 46% today.
India is also seeing an increase from 38% back then to 56% today, with the United States also showing an increase from 45% of respondents back then to 56% today.
In Russia alone, pollsters found a decline in support for stronger government leadership at COP26, with only 38% in favor of this approach, down from nearly 50% in 2015.
On the issue of addressing climate change, respondents were fairly evenly divided, with 61% overall saying governments have responsibility while 57% saying companies were in the picture.
On the issue of people, only 36% said the answers should come from them.
This question revealed an interesting age difference with four out of 10 respondents under 30 stating that individuals have a great deal of responsibility, while only three out of 10 of those over 30 see it the same way.
The general concern about climate change is at its highest level since Globescan began monitoring this concern – in 17 countries – in 1998. About 63% of people now see it as a “very serious” problem.
There have also been large increases in the number of people saying weather patterns have become very unusual and alarming, particularly in France and the UK where the number has doubled since 2015.
More details on the survey can be found here.
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- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Paris climate agreement
- Climate change
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