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Climate Change Affecting 85% of Indians, Survey Reveals

A recent survey by YPCCC and CVoter reveals that 85% of Indians are experiencing the effects of climate change, with more than a third considering relocation due to extreme weather.

Saurabh Shukla
Climate Change Affecting 85% of Indians, Survey Reveals (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Climate Change Affecting 85% of Indians, Survey Reveals (Photo Source: Pixabay)

A recent survey reveals that climate change is significantly affecting the lives of people in India, with 85% of respondents acknowledging its impact. Conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) and the Centre for Voting Opinion & Trends in Election Research (CVoter) between September 5 and November 1, 2023, the study surveyed 2,178 adults across the nation. The findings highlight a growing concern among the Indian population about global warming and its repercussions.

The survey results indicate that 91% of the participants are worried about global warming. This level of concern reflects the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Heatwaves, droughts, and floods have had a significant impact, with 34% of respondents having either already moved or considered moving due to these climate-related disasters.

The report underscores that a large majority of Indians are worried about various environmental hazards. Issues such as agricultural pests and diseases (87%), extinction of plant and animal species (86%), severe heatwaves (85%), and water shortages (85%) are at the forefront of their concerns. Additionally, severe air pollution (85%), famines (83%), cyclones (76%), and floods (71%) are significant worries for the people.

Despite these challenges, there is a strong sense of community resilience and preparedness among Indians. About 64% reported receiving warnings before extreme weather events occur, although 34% still do not receive timely alerts. Confidence in local support systems is relatively high, with 78% trusting family and friends, 68% trusting their communities, and 62% trusting state and local governments to help during such events.

The survey reveals a proactive stance among Indians regarding climate action. A significant portion of the population is willing to engage in collective preparedness efforts. For instance, 70% are willing to encourage their family and friends to join community emergency response teams. Furthermore, 68% are open to asking local government officials to explain their emergency response plans publicly.

Although 54% of respondents admitted knowing only "just a little" about global warming or never having heard of it, awareness increases significantly when provided with a brief definition. Subsequently, 78% acknowledged the reality of global warming. Additionally, 52% believe human activities are the primary cause, while 38% attribute it to natural environmental changes.

A notable 91% of respondents expressed concern about global warming, with 59% being "very worried." The majority believe that global warming will severely impact plant and animal species (83%), people in India (82%), future generations (81%), and themselves and their families (74%).

There is strong support for government action on climate and energy policies. Notably, 86% favor India’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions to nearly zero by 2070. Additionally, transitioning from coal to wind and solar energy is seen positively by 85%, despite concerns about potential increases in unemployment (61%) and electricity prices (57%).

Indians are not just concerned but are also ready to make lifestyle changes to mitigate global warming. The survey found that 93% are willing to make significant changes in their daily lives, and 92% are keen to persuade their family and friends to adopt environmentally friendly actions.

The survey also highlighted vulnerabilities faced by the population. For example, 38% experienced a lack of clean drinking water for at least one day in the past year, and 72% faced regular electricity disruptions. Additionally, economic challenges are evident, with more than half of the respondents indicating that their income does not cover their needs adequately.

The YPCCC and CVoter survey provides a comprehensive overview of the Indian public’s views on climate change. It reveals widespread concern, a strong willingness to engage in mitigation efforts, and significant challenges related to environmental hazards and economic vulnerabilities.

These insights underscore the urgent need for effective climate policies and community-based resilience strategies to address the multifaceted impacts of climate change in India.

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