The other climate crisis | The Changing Childhood Project | UNICEF x Gallup

Climate Change

The other climate crisis

Climate change poses an unparalleled test for humanity. The burden will fall disproportionately on the young generation. How well do young people understand the challenge?

We conducted a survey among 15–24 and 40+ year-olds across 21 countries to explore how childhood is changing.

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We first asked young people whether they had heard of climate change. How many do you think answered yes?

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On average, only 80% of young people say they've heard of climate change.

We then asked young people who had heard of climate change to identify the correct definition of it between two options.

What share, on average, do you think got it right?

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On average, only 56% chose the correct definition of climate change: a rise in average world temperatures and more extreme weather events resulting from human activities.

The remainder think climate change refers to seasonal changes in temperature.

% of young people who are aware of climate change
Low/Lower-middle income countries
23%
Upper-middle income countries
56%
High-income countries
77%

It's clear that climate change awareness among young people globally is far from complete.

This is especially true in poorer countries.

On average, 77% of young people in high-income countries say they have heard of climate change and are able to define it correctly.

The share is just 23% on average in low and lower-middle income countries.

A lack of understanding about climate change is not a problem unique to the young.

More 15–24 year-olds have heard of climate change and can define itMore 40+ year-olds have heard of climate change and can define it

On average, older people fared no better on these questions.

A failure to comprehend the climate crisis means an inability to respond to it. This is a major constraint to effective global action.

What can be done to improve awareness about climate change around the world?

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