Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, New York, September 18, 2017: A new survey finds that a majority of people globally are optimistic about our ability to address climate change, with 64 percent of global citizens – and 60 percent in the US – believing we can address climate change if we take action now. Overall, 33% strongly agree this is the case, and 32% tend to agree. Only 11 percent disagree that we can address climate change if we take action now.
The survey, conducted by global market research firm Ipsos on behalf of non-profit organization The Climate Group and change agency Futerra, polled online adults aged 16-64 in 26 countries and is at the heart of a new campaign, #ClimateOptimist, launched today to change the dominant narrative on climate change. The campaign’s partners include Mars, VF Corp, Interface, Ashden and the DivestInvest movement.
The survey found that people in emerging economies are especially likely to feel positive about solving climate change, with 71 percent of these respondents believing we can address it if we take action now, compared to only 59 percent in established economies. Countries with high numbers of optimists include Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico, India, Peru and South Africa.
Only 4% of people globally believe that the Earth’s climate is not changing, so there is no need to do anything about it.
However, 61 percent of survey respondents said they hear much more about the negative impacts of climate change than they do about progress on reducing it.
This may be contributing to the belief that although the climate is changing, humanity can do nothing to stop it, a mindset the campaign team has dubbed ‘Climate Fatalism’. 14 percent of people globally fall into this category, believing that while the climate is changing, humanity can do nothing to stop it.
Young people are especially likely to agree with some fatalistic statements; for example, 22 percent of those aged 16-35 agree that it is now too late to stop climate change, so there is no point in trying, compared with 18 percent of 35-49 year olds and 16 percent of 50-64 year olds. 39 percent of under-35s in India, 30 percent in Brazil, 27 percent in Spain and Sweden, and 29 percent in the United States believe this is the case.
“Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can, so on the one hand it is thrilling to learn that Climate Optimists already far outweigh Pessimists globally,” said Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder of Futerra, speaking at the launch. “However, the dangerous levels of fatalism, especially among young people, give cause for alarm. There are many reasons to believe we’ll solve climate change, but doom, fear and guilt dominate media coverage of this issue. The #ClimateOptimist campaign is designed to change that narrative, because science shows that optimism spurs action.”
The #ClimateOptimist campaign seeks to raise awareness of the solutions to climate change to shift the dominant narrative around the topic and combat fatalism about our future. The approach is grounded in decades of scientific evidence which show that optimism compels action. Specifically, #ClimateOptimist asks people to:
“Those of us working on climate change every day encounter many exciting solutions that are emerging through policy, business and new technology – but the general public doesn’t always hear this good news,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group. “This survey sends a promising signal that the world is ready to hear more about the solutions, and work together to solve climate change.”
Find out more at www.ClimateOptimist.org
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