Younger Gen Wants G20 Take Bold Action on Climate

Two Billion people at Risk of Temperature Rise

The global heating cannot be maintained at 1.5C, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement unless bold action is taken by G20 countries, feels majority of the younger generation in the G20 nations.

The revelation comes in a major poll of public opinion on climate change in the G20 countries published by the UNDP and the University of Oxford Department of Sociology.

The new survey called the ‘G20 Peoples’ Climate Vote shows how public support for climate action is set to strengthen in the near future as climate-aware teenagers become of voting age, enter the workforce and move into positions of greater influence.


The survey finds that a majority of under-18s believed that climate change is a global emergency, ranging from Argentina and Saudi Arabia (63 per cent), to Italy and the UK (86 per cent).

The G20, made up of 19 countries and the European Union, account for over 80 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), 60 per cent of the world’s population, and more than 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The G20 countries also have immense impacts across sectors, including 90 per cent of global vehicle sales, 75 per cent of the global potential for renewables between 2010 and 2030, 60 per cent of the world’s agricultural land, and 80 per cent of world’s trade in agricultural products.

With 70 per cent of the younger generation in G20 countries believing in a global climate emergency, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said; “Given that they are about to inherit this climate emergency, young people are sending a message to global leaders that is loud and clear: they want climate action now. The world is now watching – hoping that countries will come together at COP26 in Glasgow to make bold, historic decisions that will literally change the future”.

The gap between children and adults was greatest on policies like increasing access to good, affordable insurance, which enables people to recover more quickly from the impacts of extreme weather events, and using more clean electric cars and bicycles, at five percentage points.


Climate Emergency

65% of adults think that climate change is a global emergency, compared with 35% who disagreed.

Perception of a climate emergency was higher among under-18s, at 70%. This indicates broad public support for G20 leaders to take urgent action and step up on climate ambition, while also suggesting that this will continue to strengthen in the years to come

Climate Finance Policy

  • Majority support for more funding of green businesses and jobs in fourteen out of the eighteen G20 countries surveyed, with the greatest support among adults in the United Kingdom (74%), followed by Germany, Australia, and Canada (all 68%). Among under-18s, support was highest in Australia (73%).
  • In many countries, making companies pay for their pollution was more popular among adults than under-18s. In Japan, Mexico and the Republic of Korea there was a stark difference between these two groups (42% vs 31%, 43% vs 36%, and 41% vs 36%, respectively), indicating more public education is needed

Cutting Emissions

  • Stopping burning polluting fuels was a popular policy in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France, with majority support among both under-18s and adults in these countries. However, only 30% of adults in India and Saudi Arabia supporting this policy, compared to 36% and 32% of under-18s in these countries, respectively.
  • Promoting renewable energy was generally a more popular policy among under-18s than adults, with a generational divide as high as thirteen percentage points in the United States. Support for this policy from under-18s was also high in emerging economies, such as with 64% for Brazil and Turkey, and 62% for Argentina.
  • There was higher under-18 support for electric vehicles and bicycles, with ten percentage point differences in Australia and Italy, suggestive of coming shifts in public demand.
  • Reducing energy waste received mixed support overall, and some significant levels of intergenerational differences. For example, in Germany 59% of adults supported this policy as opposed to 44% of under-18s, while Russia saw the opposite outcome: 32% of adults compared to 38% of under-18s.
  • Support among adults and under-18s on policies such as conserving forests and land to address climate change varied depending on the country. It was ten percentage points higher among adults than under-18s in the United Kingdom, for example, whereas in Brazil, Russia and India it was higher among under-18s than adults, ten percent, nine percent and nine percent higher, respectively.

Climate Adaptation Policy

  • There were majority levels of support among adults in twelve of the G20 countries surveyed for building more resilient infrastructure to protect people and property from extreme weather events. The policy attracted greater support in adults than under-18s, such as for the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Germany
  • Installing more early warning systems to support disaster preparedness was a relatively popular policy in general and featured higher levels of public support among under-18s than adults in all countries. Support among under-18s was eight percentage points higher than for adults in both France and the United States, and six for Brazil and Turkey.
  • There were surprisingly higher levels of support among under-18s than adults for increasing access to insurance, which can help families, businesses, and communities rebuild after extreme weather events. Under-18s backed this policy with support higher than among adults in the United States (where there was a fourteen percentage point difference), Italy (twelve), and Brazil, France and Japan (where the generational gap was eleven points)

To read the report click here:


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