Massive citizen consultation results on climate action to be presented at Bonn UNFCCC talks

Thousands of people from about 80 countries on Saturday (June 6) participated in a multisite consultation on climate and energy actions, involving more than 10000 citizens.

The “World Wide Views” initiative (launched by the UNFCCC Secretariat and implemented by World Wide Views Alliance, with the support of the Danish Board of Technology Foundation, Missions Publiques and the French National Commission for Public Debate) aims at bringing the views of citizens on climate and energy issues to the attention of governments, public officials, UN institutions, local authorities, stakeholders and companies. The questions address a wide range of topics, organized under five thematic sessions: importance of tackling climate change, tools to tackle climate change, UN negotiations and national commitments, fairness and distribution of efforts, making and keeping climate promises.

The method consists in having citizens at multiple sites (at least 100 citizens for each meeting) debating the same policy related questions on a given issue on the same day. Organizers say participants are selected to reflect the demographic diversity in their country or region with regards to age, gender, occupation, education, geographical zone of residency, and membership of environmental organizations. Before answering the questions, they receive written information material presenting facts and opinions about the issues at hand. Information videos are screened at the actual consultations as an introduction to each thematic session.

First results showed that almost 80 percent of global participants are “very concerned” about the impacts of climate change, a pronounced increase with respect to the answers given in 2009 during a similar experiment (World Wide Views on global warming), when 62 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” about climate change and its consequences.

More than 60 percent agree that “the world should decide in Paris to do whatever it takes to limit temperatures exceeding 2 degrees Celsius warming”, by subsidizing low-carbon energy, such as wind, solar power, marine energies, geothermal energy (56 percent), supporting research and development of low carbon technology (45 percent), adopting new standards, for example on energy efficiency of cars, buildings and appliances (23 percent) or taxes on carbon emissions, or emissions trading schemes (20 percent), developing new socio-economic institutions and practices, such as investment in public transportation systems or consumption of locally produced food (20 percent), and by cutting fossil fuel subsidies (16 percent).

Participants seem to be almost equally split between who think that in his/her country “climate change is a national priority and it should be” (44 percent) and who think climate change is not considered as a national priority “but it should be” (45 percent).

Majority agreed that the Paris agreement to be concluded at COP21 in December should include legally-binding, national short-term goals (72 percent) and their own country should take measure to reduce GHG emissions even if many other countries do not do so (almost 80 percent).

On World Wide Views website is possible to see the consultation results and compare them among countries and regions.

According to organizers, preliminary results will be presented on Wednesday (June 10) at the June sessions of the UNFCCC negotiations taking place in Bonn, Germany, and at several other key meetings over the coming key months. A summary for policymakers will be released on June 30.

(Image: WWV round table discussions in Guyana, June 6, 2015. Photo credit: WWViews Guyana/Flickr)