Two-thirds of people want legally-binding climate deal

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UN-backed global survey also shows 97 per cent want goal for zero emissions by the end of the century to be included in Paris agreement

The largest ever global citizen consultation on climate change has shown overwhelming support from people across the world for a strong deal to be delivered by leaders at the major United Nations talks in Paris at the end of this year.

Around 10,000 people across 76 countries were interviewed by the UN-backed World Wide Views (WWViews) campaign on a single day in June.

The findings revealed 97 per cent of people want the talks in Paris to deliver a long-term goal for zero emissions by the end of this century. Two-thirds of those asked said they wanted the deal to be legally binding for all countries.

WWViews is a global citizen consultation initiative launched by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat and several other bodies.

The survey also found 78 per cent of citizens are "very concerned" about the impacts of climate change, while 97 per cent were at least "concerned". Another 63 per cent said "whatever it takes must be done in Paris" to keep warming below 2C, while 66 per cent thought measures to tackle climate change are an opportunity to improve quality of life.

WWViews said only minor differences were seen between continents, developed and developing countries and generations, although the results between the 76 countries surveyed differed slightly.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said the survey clearly showed strong support for a global climate deal.

"The voice of ordinary citizens - of men and women north and south, east and west - has now been heard ahead of Paris and that voice is clear and consistent: they want a strong and durable global climate agreement that will, over the decades to come, restore the balance of planet Earth and avoid dangerous climate change," she said.

"World Wide Views has also shown that people everywhere have a deep understanding of the challenge and the paths we must take to a sustainable future. The message to leaders is clear: there is popular, public support for an ambitious, forward-looking agreement adding to the growing voice of so many businesses, cities, territories and regions."

The results are striking for their strong support for measures often seen as harmful by negotiators. Some 45 per cent of citizens said they wanted to see all fossil fuel exploration stopped, including 34 per cent in petroleum exporting countries. Some 88 per cent were in favour of a carbon tax, while 79 per cent said their country should take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if many other countries do not follow suit.

Participants in the survey spent a day in a consultation, where they were provided with unbiased information on climate change, energy and international policy discussions and allowed time to discuss the issues with each other. They then voted on a set of 34 questions.

The full report is due to be launched on Saturday 26 September during a high-level panel discussion with Figueres and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chair of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The event will be streamed live.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

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