Against the backdrop of one the world’s most severe typhoons and landmark levels of atmospheric CO2, the 19th Conference of the Parties has kicked off this week in Warsaw, Poland. COP19, intended to lay down the groundwork ahead of a new global climate change agreement in Paris in 2015, needs significant progress by politicians, business leaders, opinion formers and scientists if they are to reach consensus.
The general population is unlikely to hear much about the conference via mainstream media and the perspectives of the public can seem lost in the midst of these political, scientific and economic discussions. So let’s bring them back into the debate – what do the global public think about climate change in 2013?
GlobeScan’s Radar 2013, conducted amongst 27,000 individuals across 27 countries, asks the global public its opinion on the issues facing our world today. These are not climate change experts but citizens, voters, consumers, employees and, indeed, polluters.
Our evidence shows that the global public is very much in favor of action on climate change. A solid majority of 55% of the public across 24 countries consider it necessary to take major steps to address climate change. A further 31% told us that they believe it is necessary to take some steps. A minority of 8% believe that it is not necessary to take any steps to address climate change. The sample includes individuals from Poland, the coal-powered host of this year’s conference, and China and the US, whose conflicting perspectives are notorious for putting the brakes on global climate agreements.
High profile weather emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy last year and the ongoing tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan continue to keep the changing climate in the media spotlight. Such attention makes the topic of climate change more tangible in the hearts and minds of the global public. As the latest BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Survey shows, businesses the world over have understood the demand for action and are busy integrating more sustainable business practices. We now need our global leaders to translate this proven appetite into political action.