Poll: Average citizens in China, Vietnam, Indonesia favor action on climate change, even if there are costs

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A few days before the start of the U.N. climate conference this week in Copenhagen, the results of an interesting – and very relevant – poll were released by the World Bank. While world leaders and other high-level representatives from more than 190 countries negotiate during the two-week conference (Dec. 7-18), this multi-country survey attempts to give a voice to average people in the developing world.


More than 13,000 people in 15 nations (most of which are developing countries) were asked a variety of questions, including whether climate change should be a concern, its urgency and what their governments should do about it. The poll also gives us a glimpse of what people in some East Asian countries – including Vietnam, China and Indonesia – think about climate change.

Overall, the majority of people polled said they want their government to take steps to fight climate change – even if that means an economic cost to their country. Some of the largest majorities of people who answered this way were in low-income countries, including Vietnam.

Here are a few other interesting findings from East Asian countries included in the survey:

  • Even though China is highly reliant on coal, a majority of people – 67 percent – support “limiting the rate of constructing coal-fired power plants, even if this increases the cost of energy.”
  • Many developing countries, including Vietnam and Indonesia, answered with more than 90 percent support acting in solidarity with other countries facing similar problems.
  • The majority of people polled in China (68 percent), Vietnam (59 percent) and Japan (53 percent) say they are willing to pay higher prices for energy and other goods to fight climate change.
  • In Vietnam, more than 90 percent of people said their government should commit to limiting emissions, whether or not it’s part of a deal.

See more results of the poll on the World Bank’s climate change blog or download a pdf copy of the full report here.

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