Almost half (49%) of residents in regional areas say their area has had severe climate impacts compared to 43% in capital cities – Ipsos climate change study

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Impact | Information | Action

Almost half (49%) of residents in regional areas say their area has had severe climate impacts compared to 43% in capital cities – Ipsos climate change study

 Six in 10 Australians say their government is not working hard enough to tackle climate change

The media underestimates the impact of climate change

Regional Australians are the most concerned in the nation about climate impacts to their communities, with almost half (49%) saying that their area has had more severe impacts than those in cities (43%), according to a new Ipsos study, released ahead of the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference on 30 November.

The Ipsos study, “Global Views on Climate Change – Impact | Information | Action” provides a new assessment on how people feel about climate change right now – focusing on what they see around them and what they think about actions being taken to address the challenges it brings. The global study included Australia.

Key Australian findings:

  • Just under half of Australians (47%) say they have already witnessed a severe impact of climate change where they live

o   This is much lower than the global average (57%) across 31 countries. In countries like Mexico, Brazil and Turkey, this figure is as high as eight in 10.

  • 36% of Australians say it’s likely that, within the next 25 years, they will be displaced from their home due to the effects of climate change.

o   This mirrors the global average of 38%.

  • Concern is greatest in Australia’s regional areas

o   Residents of regional areas (49%) are more likely to say their area has had severe climate impacts than those in capital cities (43%).

o   Likewise, those in regional areas are more likely to expect severe impacts in the next 10 years (67% compared to 63%).

  • 48% of Australians say the government is not providing enough information about how they can make better choices on how to tackle climate change. 56% are critical of the government’s efforts to keep them up to date on the potential impacts.

o   This compares favourably to the global averages. Globally, 59% say their government is not providing enough information about how they can make better choices on how to tackle climate change. And 63% are critical of their government’s efforts to keep them up to date on the potential impacts.

  • Overall, Australians are inclined to believe the media underestimates the impact of climate change (36%, versus 31% who say they exaggerate its effects). This margin is much closer than in most other countries. Globally, 42% are inclined to believe the media underestimates the impact of climate change (versus 23% who say they exaggerate its effects).
  • While Australians are more likely than most to feel that businesses are working hard to tackle climate change (36% compared to the global average of 32%), they are more sceptical about green washing. 77% of Australians say businesses use environmental claims without committing to real change compared to 71% globally.

Stuart Clark, Director, Public Affairs at Ipsos Australia, said: “Australians have experienced some of the most extreme global impacts of climate change in the past five years with fires and floods, but we are less concerned than most about what the future holds.

“Compared to most other countries, Australians are more likely to believe that the government is working hard to tackle climate change and informing the public effectively. This may help to explain why we’re a little more relaxed about the potential impacts. There is a growing divide in recognition of the impacts of climate change in Australia. Residents of regional areas are more concerned about the impacts of climate change than those living in our biggest cities.

“The findings highlight a high level of distrust in the Australian media’s reporting on the impacts of climate change.”

Key global findings:

The IMPACT of Climate Change

Almost six in ten (57%) report a severe effect of climate change in the area where they live, but this varies greatly by country. Reported climate change impact is highest in Mexico (81%), Brazil (79%) and Turkey (79%). Just two countries – Great Britain and Sweden – have less than two-fifths of people reporting severe effects (34% and 24% respectively). Looking across all 31 nations, it’s people in Latin America who are particularly concerned, with six of the top 10 countries being from the region.

And looking ahead, the number expecting climate change to have a severe impact on their area over the next 10 years stands at 71% (global country average). Six countries record eight in 10 believing this – with the figure going up to nearly nine in 10 (88%) in South Korea.

Extending the timeline, around two-fifths (38%) expect that they will be displaced from their home within the next 25 years, with the highest levels of concern in Turkey (68%) and Brazil (61%). The least concerned countries are all European – in Great Britain, Poland, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, the proportion expecting they will have to move stands at one in four or lower.

INFORMATION on Climate Change

On a global average, people don’t believe that the information available to them is enough to help them take the right steps. Faith in governments, businesses and the media seems to be lacking.

Six in 10 global citizens say that governments and businesses in their country do not provide the right amount of information on climate change (59% and 61% respectively).

When it comes to the media, just 24% globally say they provide good representation about the impacts, with 42% believing they underestimate its effects and 23% saying they exaggerate what climate change will mean. Here again, the context varies considerably by country. In Latin America, there is quite a strong sense that the media underestimates the impact. Meanwhile, there is a marked lack of consensus on the media’s portrayal of climate change in India, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and the United States.

Taking ACTION on Climate Change

A little over a third (36%) of citizens globally believe their government is working hard to tackle climate change. In 21 out of the 31 countries, over half the population say that their government is not working hard enough, or even doing anything at all, to fight climate change.

In Argentina, as few as 9% of citizens think their government is working hard on the issue. People in Peru (13%) and Japan (19%) also give their administrations low marks.

Confidence in businesses’ efforts to tackle climate change is also low, with 32% saying they work hard but 59% saying they aren’t doing enough.

Globally, 71% think that businesses use environmental claims without committing to real change at least occasionally, including 37% who say they do this frequently or all the time. This latter figure rises to 48% in Britain.

This being said, citizens also feel that they themselves are not doing enough to combat climate change. Three-fifths (59%) say people in their country are not working hard enough, or at all, with those in LATAM particularly critical – Peru (79%), followed by Argentina (77%) and Colombia (77%).

Click here for full release and charts:

About the Study

These are the results of a 31-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform and, in India, on its IndiaBus platform, between Friday, September 22 and Friday, October 6, 2023. For this survey, Ipsos interviewed a total of 24,220 adults aged 18 years and older in India, 18-74 in Canada, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore, and 16-74 in all other countries.

The sample consists of approximately 2,000 individuals in Japan, 1,000 individuals each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals each in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Turkey. The sample in India consists of approximately 2,200 individuals, of whom approximately 1,800 were interviewed face-to-face and 400 were interviewed online.

Samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be considered representative of their general adult populations under the age of 75. Samples in Brazil, Chile, mainland China, Colombia, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.

India’s sample represents a large subset of its urban population — social economic classes A, B and C in metros and tier 1-3 town classes across all four zones.

The data is weighted so that the composition of each country’s sample best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data. “The Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries and markets in which the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market and is not intended to suggest a total result.

When percentages do not sum up to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 percentage point more/less than the actual result, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll where N=1,000 being accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of where N=500 being accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third-largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts, and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions, and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers, or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

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