Almost all Georgians (98%) have heard of climate change and the vast majority of the population (72%) see it as a direct and immediate threat to their lives and livelihoods. But while a large share agrees that reducing the risks will require each individual to adopt a “greener” lifestyle, only a few are taking action. These are the key findings of “What the Georgian population knows about climate change,” a new report released by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 11 February.
The research presents the results of the first nationwide opinion poll conducted in Georgia on public awareness about climate change. Carried out by the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus in August-September 2020, it is based on face-to-face interviews with 1,100 people from all regions.
Georgians put climate change in third place among different threats facing humanity – after poverty and infectious diseases, says the report. Another opinion poll, Peoples’ Climate Vote, recently conducted by UNDP in 50 countries, showed that 68% of Georgians agree with the idea that climate change is a “global emergency.”
The EU-UNDP study showed that Georgians have almost zero awareness of specific policy commitments or reporting requirements related to climate change (barely 10% had ever heard of “nationally defined contributions”, a crucial emission-reduction commitment). However, Georgians have a very clear sense of the impact that climate change might have on their lives, with large shares directly attributing floods, drought, hail, landslides, torrential rain and other extreme weather events to global warming.
According to the report, 45% of Georgians think there is still time to halt climate change, while 49% believe it is too late. A large majority of respondents remained convinced that individual behavior makes a difference in combatting the impact of climate change: 65% when asked about other people and 57% when talking about themselves.
The new study was conducted as part of the EU-funded EU4Climate programme that UNDP implements in the six Eastern Partnership countries, assisting them in mitigating climate change and adapting to its effects by introducing climate-sensitive policies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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