Voters Believe Leaders are Dropping the Ball on Climate Mitigation
The newly released POLITICO Morning Consult Global Sustainability Poll shows that frustration has increased among voters around the world, who worry that average citizens rather than big corporations will bear the consequences of the climate crisis. According to the study: "Consumers in 13 countries on five continents surveyed say companies should share more of the costs of combating climate change, including paying higher taxes. Fossil fuel companies, in particular, face the most skeptics."
The study also found that many voters believe it’s time China is held accountable for its climate decisions, citing that "majorities in every country surveyed -- ranging from 57% in Japan up to 80% in South Africa -- agreed that China, with the world’s second-largest economy, should now be classed as a wealthy country."
Why This Matters
Big corporations and governments need to be held accountable for their role in climate change and its impacts on poorer countries, and for the world to meet its carbon emission goals. Globally, carbon emissions haven't plateaued yet, with atmospheric carbon emissions hitting a three-million-year high in October of 2021. Big governments are still a long way off from hitting necessary emissions goals, needing to "triple their current investments" in clean energy to "meet future needs."
Reuters: 2021 saw jump in greenhouse-gas emissions, says report, January 10, 2022.
Greenpeace: Uncovering polluters' offsetting scams, October 26, 2021.
The Great US Climate Divide
According to the study, "the United States is home to the largest ideological divide on climate action. Among Americans, 97% of left-leaning voters expressed concern about climate change, compared to 51% of right-leaning voters."
In general, left-leaning voters tend to feel more concerned about the climate crisis and are more willing to act. In the US, those who identify as the left are twice as likely to modify personal behavior to mitigate climate change. Multiple studies show this trend, including one from the Pew Research Center stating, "While 67% of conservatives in the US say the country is doing a good job [on handling climate change], only 26% of liberals agree." Younger generations tend to feel the most concerned as compared to older generations, with a study showing 60% of young people ages 16-25 feel very worried or extremely worried about their future.
CBS: Breaking through the political divide on climate change, January 29, 2019.