Climate change is the main environmental challenge; 3 out of 5 in 9 countries say

By Asitha Jayawardena

The research was conducted in 9 countries with 9000 participants in September-October 2021 about climate change.

62% of 9000 people in nine countries say that their main environmental challenge is climate change, according to the survey conducted by Kantar Public.

When it comes to sharing the responsibility of climate action, the survey identifies an individual and collective commitment, says Emmanuel Rivière, Director of International Polling and Political Advisory of Kantar Public.

The survey was conducted between 22 September and 1 October among 9,000 adults aged 18+ (1,000 respondents per country) in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, and New Zealand.

Some interesting highlights of the survey are given below:

Climate change, a shared concern

When asked about the three main environmental challenges currently facing the world, 62% of nine countries said climate change, ranging from 56% of the US and Poland to 78% in Singapore. Climate change is the first choice of 8 out of 9 countries and the exception is Poland, where air pollution came at the top.

From the answers to the individuals on the impact of climate change, 78% said at global level, 76% said at a country level and 55% said at a personal level. However, 77% responded at an individual level in Singapore.

The interplay was between the government’s commitments and the collective community effect. Governments should lead with a strong prescriptive role from national authorities but research found that it is not the case.

Lack of responsibility from the national governments

When asked what are needed for their national governments to better preserve the environment and the planet, the respondents selected:

42% Higher sense of responsibility

34% Willingness to invest more

30% Awareness

29% Independence from economic interests

29% Collaboration with other countries

28% Support from the general public

The choice of a higher sense of responsibility, which achieved 42%, was the first priority in the US, Spain, Poland and Singapore and the second in the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

In all nine countries, large corporations are perceived to have a lack of responsibility for climate action. One way is to improve this situation is regulation. Therefore, the power should be with national governments in terms of public policy.

Moreover, people expect their national government to have a higher responsibility for protecting the environment while thinking that they do their bit to the best.

Easy solutions and limited lifestyle changes for citizens

When the respondents are asked whether they would accept stricter environmental rules and regulations, 78% say yes but only 46% say that they don’t need to change their habits.

Out of 17 measures, the top five are these:

57% Reducing waste and increasing recycling

54% Stopping deforestation

52% Protecting endangered animal species

47% Building energy-efficient buildings

46% Banning the use of polluting substances in industry/ agriculture

Apart from the first one of waste reduction and recycling, the others are not required of the efforts of individuals.

The bottom five are these:

23% Reducing travel by planes

23% Increasing the price of products that do not respect environmental criteria

22% Banning fossil fuel vehicles

18% Reducing meat consumption

17% Reducing international trade

Reducing air travel, banning fossil fuel vehicles and eating meatless food are the ones that have an impact on individuals.

What the developing world say…

The nine countries are developed but what do the millions of people in the developing world would say?


Sharing the responsibility for climate action



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