64% say climate change is a global emergency in People’s Climate Vote in 50 countries

By Asitha Jayawardena

Nearly two-thirds of 1.22 million people from 50 countries think that climate change is a global emergency in the People’s Climate Vote surveyed between October and December 2020. It was the largest survey on public opinion on climate change on earth.

“The voice of the people is clear – they want action on climate change,” said Cassie Flynn, the UNDP’s strategic adviser on climate change. “The key message is that, as governments are making these high-stakes decisions, the people are with them.”

The People’s Climate Vote

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with Oxford University conducted the survey on high-, middle- and low-income countries and people of all genders, ages, and educational backgrounds took part. Half of the participants, i.e., 550,000, were aged between 14 to 18. They were attracted with poll questions through adverts in mobile gaming apps and puzzles across 50 countries, including Angry Birds, Subway Surfers, Sudoku and Words With Friends.

The 1.22 million participants from 50 countries represented 56% of the world’s population. They came from the developed countries (e.g., the US, the UK, Russia, Japan, Italy, Australia) and the developing ones (e.g., India, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Morocco).

Climate change is a global emergency

64% of the participants saw that climate change is a global emergency.

In the UK and Italy, 81% agreed with the question while 65% in the US and Russia. Moldova was the lowest with 50%.

Policies to tackle climate change

Out of 18 policies, four policies to tackle climate change earned 50% votes. They are:

  • Conserve forests and land (54%)
  • Use solar, wind and renewable power (53%)
  • Climate-friendly farming techniques (52%)
  • Investing more money in green businesses and jobs (50%)

The least-favoured strategy was a plant-based diet, with only 30%. Germany, with 44%, and the UK, with 43%, supported it strongest.

Few people declined to support any policy with Pakistan 5% and the US 4%.

Age, gender and education

Age and gender had an impact on the results of the People’s Climate Vote.

Turning to climate change as a global emergency, 69% of 14–18-year-olds would say yes whereas only 58% aged over 60 said in affirmation. This will show that the young people would have the urgency to do more but a huge generational divide was not present.

In Canada, women and girls were 12% more likely to say climate change is an emergency than men and boys. In the US, UK and Australia, the difference was smaller. In contrast, India, Georgia, Vietnam and Nigeria was the other way round (9-12%); men and boys were more than women and girls and education was the key.

Public opinion: We need action

“The Peoples’ Climate Vote has delivered a treasure trove of data on public opinion that we’ve never seen before,” said Prof Stephen Fisher at Oxford University. “Recognition of the climate emergency is much more widespread than previously thought.”

In this survey of 1.22 million in 50 countries amounting to 56% of the global population, public opinion is the key and what many need now is action on climate change.


What surveying 50 countries taught us about climate action https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2021/what-surveying-50-countries-taught-us-about-climate-action.html

The Peoples’ Climate Vote https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/climate-and-disaster-resilience-/The-Peoples-Climate-Vote-Results.html

UN global climate poll: ‘The people’s voice is clear – they want action’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/27/un-global-climate-poll-peoples-voice-is-clear-they-want-action

Climate change: Biggest global poll supports ‘global emergency’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55802902



  1. I find it interesting that “The least-favoured strategy was a plant-based diet, with only 30%. Germany, with 44%, and the UK, with 43%, supported it strongest.”

    I just wish more people would count chemicals instead of calories the world population would be far healthier and if all the governments come together and address climate change we need a healthy population it all goes hand in hand …Thank you for sharing the results of this survey …

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I felt it that way. In cold countries (e.g. UK), there is not equally as substantial as plant-based diets as hot countries (e.g. India) so they keep the meat-based diet.


  3. I’m not a strict vegan or vegetarian 100% but I do strive for a more plant based diet and I wish more people would too. I love fish and seafood and try to stick to that meat most. There are so many hormones and chemicals pumped into land animals these days. Especially all the growth hormones in chickens. It’s so horrible.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like how you outlined the policies that earned the major votes in point form. Basically being energy, agriculture and green businesses and of course forest conservation. I think that they are what is central to fighting climate change. Hopefully we can focus a lot of resources and research into those areas and we’ll be able to see major positive impact.

    Liked by 1 person

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