In early November, nearly 200 countries came together at the UN climate change conference (COP22) in Marrakech to reaffirm their commitment to the historic “Paris Agreement.” If the COP21 was about signing this agreement, this year’s conference is about the critical next step of turning commitment into action.
To track overall opinions of thought leaders across the globe, including views toward climate change before and after the landmark deal, the World Bank Group’s Country Opinion Survey program annually surveys nearly 10,000 key influencers working in government, parliament, private sector, civil society, media, and academia in more than 40 development countries. The results help shed light on the overall public opinion environment where efforts to operationalize the Agreement will likely take place.
The following charts provide a snapshot view of global opinion leaders’ (in developing countries) attitudes toward climate change.
Overall, survey data suggest that concern about climate change among opinion leaders worldwide has increased significantly in the past four years. While the percentage of respondents considering addressing climate change a top development priority is relatively lower than that of education, governance, and food security in many countries, data clearly show an upward trend in the perceived importance of combatting climate change since 2015.
Survey data also indicate that while opinion leaders do not always agree on the severity of the impact of climate change, this year’s more than 9,000 respondents are significantly more likely to see climate change as “a very serious problem” than the year before
It is noteworthy that survey data from 7,000 visitors to the World Bank Group websites between 2015 and 2016 also reveal that a majority of respondents (77%) believes that climate change is “a very serious problem.”