That teenagers have strong opinions should hardly come as a surprise. Neither should the observation that they are often found playing video games. Given that the young are a proxy for the future, then what better way to engage them than via poll questions distributed through adverts in mobile gaming apps?
This is exactly what the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with Oxford University recently did in a novel project. More than a million people in 50 countries took part in the survey (named the “People’s Climate Vote”), with almost half the participants aged between 14 and 18. This makes it the largest opinion poll ever concluded on tackling global warming. Compiled between October and December last year, its results have just been released.
The conclusion was emphatic: 64% of participants see climate change as an emergency, requiring urgent responses from countries. Unsurprisingly, opinions varied by age (the young feel more strongly about the topic) and location (Brits care most about the environment and Moldovans the least). Encouragingly for the new Biden administration, some 65% of US respondents regard climate change as an emergency.
When asked how best to tackle the problem, the responses honed in on a clear set of suggestions, even though there were again some geographic variations. The four most commonly cited proposed solutions were (in order): conserve forests and land; use solar, wind and renewable power; develop climate-friendly farming techniques; and, invest more in green businesses and jobs.
We concur strongly with all the above and have written extensively on the middle two topics in particular. It’s important to remember that even with the cost of solar and wind energy having fallen substantially in the last decade (by ~80% and ~40% respectively), renewables account for less than 10% of all global energy generation currently. The good news is that around two-thirds of new energy projects embrace renewable sources (all data per Bloomberg New Energy Finance). With less than 5% of all global protein consumption currently comprising non-meat sources (per the United Nations), the opportunity ahead in developing more sustainable food solutions is also significant.
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