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A new global survey shows that people everywhere are concerned about climate change


A new poll from the United Nations examines opinions about climate change around the world. Two-thirds of respondents said climate change is affecting big decisions like where people live or work, and even more said they want governments to do more to address it. NPR's Jeff Brady has this report.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: This poll, called The Peoples' Climate Vote, was a huge undertaking. More than 75,000 people were interviewed in 87 different languages in 77 countries. Professor Stephen Fisher at Oxford University worked on the methodology and says a special effort was made to include marginalized groups, including people who are some of the poorest and hardest to reach.

STEPHEN FISHER: For instance, over 10% of the final sample came from people who said that they had never been to school.

BRADY: Overall, Fisher says these findings reflect the views of 87% of the global population. Interviews started last September and wrapped up in May. Achim Steiner heads the U.N. Development Program and says the results surprised him.

ACHIM STEINER: The first very clear and unequivocal message is that a huge majority, 80% of those polled, actually want their countries to strengthen their commitments to address climate change.

BRADY: Steiner says even in countries that emit the most greenhouse gases, like the U.S., China and Russia, majorities echo this call for more action. And support was even stronger in poorer countries and those vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as low-lying island states. An even larger share of respondents, 86%, said they want countries to put aside differences and cooperate on climate change.

STEINER: Now, given where we are in today's geopolitical, geo-economic and conflict-driven global context, this is a remarkable statement by people from all over the world.

BRADY: Anxiety about climate change is another topic the survey asked about, says Cassie Flynn with the U.N.

CASSIE FLYNN: Over half globally said that they think about climate change either daily or weekly, meaning this is really embedded into their everyday thinking.

BRADY: The findings come as more than half of the world's population will vote in elections this year. The question is whether voters will express these opinions at the ballot box.

Jeff Brady, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLAR BEAR'S "NO MORE GOODBYES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues and climate change. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.