73% of people believe Earth approaching tipping points, according to new survey

 
08/17/2021 - A survey, carried out in G20 countries by IPSOS Mori and the Global Commons Alliance, highlights a set of new and extremely detailed research on public attitudes towards tipping points, planetary stewardship and necessary economic and societal transformations. The survey clearly shows people are willing to do more to become better “planetary stewards” and protect and regenerate the global commons.
73% of people believe Earth approaching tipping points, according to new survey
In a survey produced by Ipsos MORI for the Global Commons Alliance, more than half of the people asked are extremely or very worried about the state of the global commons.

Following the recent ‘code red’ IPCC report, IPSOS Mori and the Global Commons Alliance have released a set of new and extremely detailed research on public attitudes towards tipping points, planetary stewardship and necessary economic and societal transformations. The results provide some of the most granular insights to date on these critical issues from the G20 countries. 

An overview about the highlights:

  • Release of major survey on attitudes to all global commons and economic transformation. Produced by Ipsos MORI for the Global Commons Alliance
  • 73% of people in G20 countries believe Earth is approaching potentially abrupt or irreversible tipping points because of human action.
  • 58% are extremely or very worried about the state of the global commons.
  • 83% are willing to do more to become better “planetary stewards” and protect and regenerate the global commons. People in developing economies showed greater willingness to do more to protect nature and climate than those in advanced economies: Indonesia (95%), South Africa (94%), China (93%) compared with Japan (61%), Germany (70%), and the United States (74%).
  • 73% agree their country’s economy should move beyond a singular focus on profit and economic growth and focus more on human wellbeing and ecological protection and regeneration.
  • 69% of people believe the benefits of action to protect the global commons outweigh the costs.
  • 59% acknowledge a very rapid energy transition is needed in the next decade.
  • Just 8% acknowledge the need for broader economic changes in the next decade.
  • 71% agree the pandemic recovery is a unique moment to build societies more resilient to future shocks

The world is not sleepwalking towards catastrophe. People know we are taking colossal risks, they want to do more and they want their governments to do more,” said Owen Gaffney, the lead author of the report ‘The Global Commons Survey: Attitudes to planetary stewardship and transformation among G20 countries’, and director of communications for the Global Commons Alliance.

 The survey highlighted significant discontent with the dominant economic systems across G20 countries. Among G20 countries, 74% of people support the idea that their country moves beyond a singular focus on profit and economic growth and focus more on human wellbeing and ecological protection and regeneration. This view is consistently high among all G20 countries. It is particularly high in Indonesia (86%), Turkey (85%) and Russia (84%), but even the lowest scoring countries score highly: United States (68%), Great Britain (68%), Canada (69%).

The findings should provide G20 leaders with the confidence to move faster to implement more ambitious policies to protect and regenerate our global commons,” said Gaffney.

In the survey the global commons were defined to include life on Earth, fresh air and climate, oceans, forests, ice sheets, freshwater, and other processes that keep Earth stable and resilient. For simplicity the terms “nature” and “global commons” were used interchangeably.

The survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI in April and May, 2021 – before the release of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report. It was conducted across G20 countries with 19,735 people surveyed (plus an additional survey in Sweden published separately). Interviews were conducted online. In each country, the data is weighted to be representative of the national population.

 G20 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, (plus the European Union).

The survey was supported by Earth4All, a new initiative exploring pathways and new economic systems to stabilize Earth and deliver prosperity to the majority, and FAIRTRANS, a new Swedish research programme exploring sustainable transformation of societies.

 

About the Global Commons Alliance:

The Global Commons Alliance is a network of over 70 major international organizations created to protect the global commons. The Earth Commission is GCA’s science partner, hosted by Future Earth, the world’s largest network of sustainability scientists.

Contact lead author:

Owen Gaffney, Global sustainability strategist, writer and analyst at PIK, Stockholm Resilience Centre & Global Commons Alliance
owen.gaffney@su.se

Twitter: @owengaffney
Phone: +46 734604833