View of a gray whale in the Pacific Ocean in Los Cabos, Baja California state, Mexico. Pacific coast gray whales have shrunk in length an astonishing 13 per cent since the year 2000, adding to growing evidence that climate change and other human activities are making marine mammals smaller, a study says. Image Credit: AFP

UNITED NATIONS: Four in every five people want their country to strengthen its commitments to addressing climate change, according to a global poll of 75,000 participants published on Thursday.

The survey by the UN Development Program, Oxford University and GeoPoll posed 15 questions by randomized telephone calls to people in 77 countries representing 87 percent of the world’s population.

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The key finding was that 80 per cent of respondents want their governments to increase efforts to fight against global warming.

Poorer countries beat this drum the loudest, with 89 per cent in favor, though appetite is also high in the wealthy G20 nations (76 per cent), according to the survey.

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China (73 per cent) and the United States (66 per cent) — the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters — also saw a majority of respondents in favour of climate action.

“As world leaders decide on the next round of pledges under the Paris Agreement by 2025, these results are undeniable evidence that people everywhere support bold climate action,” said Cassie Flynn, UNDP global climate director.

A majority of respondents in 62 of the 77 countries surveyed said they supported a quick transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

These included China (80 per cent) and the United States (54 per cent), but in Russia just 16 per cent of poll participants were in favour.

Worries about global warming have also increased, the survey found, with 56 per cent saying they think about climate change at least once a week.

Over half (53 per cent) of those surveyed said they were more worried about climate change than last year, compared with 15 percent who said they were less worried.

Leading the rise in climate anxiety is Fiji, where 80 per cent are more concerned compared to a year ago, followed by Afghanistan (78 per cent) and Turkey (77 per cent).

Saudi Arabia saw the lowest increase in climate fears, with 25 per cent more worried, followed by Russia (34 per cent), Czech Republic (36 per cent) and China (39 per cent).

More than two-thirds of survey respondents (69 per cent) said that global warming had impacted their life decisions, such as where to live or work and what to buy.

But Achim Steiner, head of the UNDP, said these concerns do not necessarily translate into electoral and consumer decisions.

“I would do more. But the others won’t. So I will not do anything,” Steiner said of what he called people’s “perception gap” on climate action.