The Chinese public want action on climate change more than people in 14 other countries, according to YouGov. The respected polling company found that 60 percent of Chinese want their government to take a leadership rôle in the Paris climate negotiations, versus only 44 percent of Americans and 41 percent of British people.

One interpretation of these surprising figures might be that the Chinese people want their government to do what it has always done and favour growth over protection of the environment. However, other responses in the YouGov survey show that the concern is very real: 52 percent of Chinese consider climate change to be a “very serious” problem. Even more amazing, so do 82 percent of Indonesians.

Eighty-six percent of Chinese want their government to do more domestically, versus only 37 percent of Danes. Of course, Denmark has already done much more than China but it’s still a striking figure.

The Chinese findings are consistent with recent qualitative work we have done for clients in China. A senior Communist Party official in one province told our researcher that concerns about pollution and cancer were “very serious potential sources of dis-harmony. They are monitored very closely and we get frequent directives.” We found very detailed (and expensive) plans to meet popular demands for action on these concerns.

The YouGov survey is — as usual with the company — methodoligically sound. The one health warning is that the universe was Chinese with internet access; some rural Chinese still can’t get online.

 

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