By Emma Howard
Nearly two-thirds of people believe that negotiators at key UN climate talks in December should do “whatever it takes” to limit global warming to a 2C rise, according to what is believed to be the most comprehensive survey of global public attitudes to climate change ever conducted.
The Worldwide Views on Climate and Energy consultation involved 10,000 citizens from 79 developed and developing countries.
It was initiated by a coalition including the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with support from, among others, the French, German and Norwegian governments and the European Space Agency.
Asked to comment on fossil fuel exploration, almost half (45%) said they thought the world should stop exploration for all fossil fuel reserves, while 23% said that exploration should continue, 62% said that exploration for new coal reserves should be stopped.
More than two-thirds (68%) of participants in the survey said an agreement in Paris should include a long-term goal for zero emissions by the end of the century that is legally binding for all countries.
The results come six months before the UN climate change summit in Paris at which negotiators from more than 190 countries will attempt to hammer out a deal deal on tackling climate change, primarily through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Current commitments to decrease emissions are due to expire in 2020.
At previous annual UN climate change summits, global negotiators agreed that in order to avoid catastrophic and irreversible climate change the temperature of the planet must not rise more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. According to the World Bank, without immediate concerted action, we are currently on track to reach this within two or three decades and to reach a 4C rise by the end of the century.
Commenting on the results, a spokesperson from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “The UK government shares the global view that climate change is not just a threat to the environment, but also threatens national and global security and our attempts to eradicate poverty and spread economic prosperity. That is why the UK is pushing hard for an ambitious global deal in Paris and is working hard to move towards a low-carbon economy.”