80 percent of people globally want stronger climate action by governments according to UN Development Programme survey

New York, 20 June 2024 – The biggest ever standalone public opinion survey on climate change, the Peoples’ Climate Vote 2024, shows 80 percent – or four out of five – people globally want their governments to take stronger action to tackle the climate crisis.

Even more – 86 percent – want to see their countries set aside geopolitical differences and work together on climate change. The scale of consensus is especially striking in the current global context of increased conflict and the rise of nationalism.
Over 73,000 people speaking 87 different languages across 77 countries were asked 15 questions on climate change for the survey, which was conducted for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) with the University of Oxford, UK and GeoPoll. The questions were designed to help understand how people are experiencing the impacts of climate change and how they want world leaders to respond. The 77 countries polled represent 87 percent of the global population.

“The Peoples’ Climate Vote is loud and clear. Global citizens want their leaders to transcend their differences, to act now and to act boldly to fight the climate crisis,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “The survey results – unprecedented in their coverage – reveal a level of consensus that is truly astonishing. We urge leaders and policymakers to take note, especially as countries develop their next round of climate action pledges – or ‘nationally determined contributions’ under the Paris Agreement. This is an issue that almost everyone, everywhere, can agree on.”

Biggest emitters support stronger climate action

The survey revealed support for stronger climate action in 20 of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, with majorities ranging from 66 percent of people in the United States and Russia, to 67 percent in Germany, 73 percent in China, 77 percent in South Africa and India, 85 percent in Brazil, 88 percent in Iran and up to 93 percent in Italy.

In five big emitters (Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States), women were more in favour of strengthening their country’s commitments by 10 to 17 percentage points. This gap was biggest in Germany, where women were 17 percentage points more likely than men to want more climate action (75 percent vs. 58 percent.) 

Fossil fuel phase-out

Aside from a broad call for bolder climate action, the survey shows support by a global majority of 72 percent in favour of a quick transition away from fossil fuels. This is true for countries among the top 10 biggest producers of oil, coal, or gas, and includes majorities ranging from 89 percent in Nigeria to 54 percent of people in the United States.

Only 7 percent of people globally said their country should not transition at all.

Climate anxiety

People across the world reported that climate change was on their minds. Globally, 56 percent said they were thinking about it regularly, i.e. daily or weekly, including some 63 percent of those in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

More than half of people globally said they were more worried than last year about climate change (53 percent). The corresponding figure was higher for those in LDCs (59 percent). On average across the nine Small Island Developing States (SIDS) surveyed, as much as 71 percent said they were more worried than last year about climate change.
69 percent of people globally said their big decisions like where to live or work were being impacted by climate change. The proportion so affected was higher in LDCs (74 percent), but notably lower in Western and Northern Europe (52 percent) and Northern America (42 percent).
Prof. Stephen Fisher, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, said: “A survey of this size was a huge scientific endeavour. While maintaining rigorous methodology, special efforts were also made to include people from marginalised groups in the poorest parts of the world. This is some of the very highest quality global data on public opinions on climate change available.”
Cassie Flynn, Global Director of Climate Change, UNDP, said: “As world leaders decide on the next round of pledges under the Paris Agreement by 2025, these results are undeniable evidence that people everywhere support bold climate action. The Peoples’ Climate Vote has enlisted the voices of people everywhere – including amongst groups traditionally the most difficult to poll. For example, people in nine of the 77 countries surveyed had never before been polled on climate change. The next two years stand as one of the best chances we have as the international community to ensure that warming stays under 1.5°. We stand ready to support policymakers in stepping up their efforts as they develop their climate action plans through our Climate Promise initiative." 

UNDP’s Climate Promise initiative has seen over 100 developing countries submit enhanced NDCs during the second revision cycle – of which 91 percent raised their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and 93 percent also strengthened adaptation goals.

Download the full report here.