‘Global warning doesn’t concern 40 percent of adult Indians’

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Over 40 percent of adult Indians are unconcerned, indifferent or disengaged about global warming, posing a threat to policy implementation on this crucial subject, says a research report by the Yale University.

According to the report, supported by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, while 43 percent of adult Indians are informed or experienced, an almost equal number of 42 percent are unconcerned, indifferent or disengaged.

The remaining 15 percent are undecided, says the report titled “Global Warming’s Six Indias” that categorises the views of adult Indians in six segments.

It shows that 19 percent of the people are “informed” about the issues of global warming and climate change, while 24 percent are “experienced.” Fifteen percent are “unconcerned”, 11 percent “indifferent” and 16 percent “disengaged”.

This report identifies six distinct audiences within the Indian public that each respond to the issue in very different ways.

The survey questionnaire included extensive measures of public climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, values, policy preferences, behaviours, and vulnerabilities.

“This study should help climate change communicators and educators in India raise public awareness and understanding of climate change, build public support for government policies, and inform decision-making and behaviour,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, lead author of the report.

The study is based on a national survey conducted by researchers at Yale University, GlobeScan and C-Voter during November-December 2011. It was funded by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

“Public opinion in India is currently delicately balanced among these six audiences, which is a potential threat to policy implementation, but also an opportunity for public education and engagement,” said Yashwant Deshmukh, managing director and chief editor at C-Voter.

“This information can be used to design better climate change policies, public education programs, and implementation strategies. Else, we risk alienating hundreds of millions of Indians from this critical issue.”

Conducted by a team from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, GlobeScan Incorporated and C-Voter, the national survey covered 4,031 Indian adults, using a combined urban and rural sample.

The study seeks to investigate the current state of climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, policy support and behaviour, as well as public observations of changes in local weather and patterns and self-reported vulnerability to extreme weather events.

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