Research Study: “Climate Change in the Indian Mind,” Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and Globescan Inc, Anthony Leiscrowitz and Jagadish Thaker, 2012
In November and December of 2011, a research team from Yale University, GlobeScan Incorporated, and C-Voter conducted a national survey of 4,031 Indian adults, using a combined urban and rural sample. The study was designed to investigate the current state of public climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Highlights of the study’s findings as listed in the Executive Summary include:
Observations of Local Environmental Change
• 80 percent of respondents said that the amount of rainfall in their local area had changed in the past 10 years—either decreasing (46%) or increasing (34%);
• 54 percent said that hot days in their local area have become more frequent, while 23% said they had become less frequent;
• 21 percent said that severe storms and droughts had become more frequent, while 15% said floods had become more frequent;
• 38 percent said the monsoon has become more unpredictable in their local area compared to the past.
Climate Vulnerability & Resilience
• 65 to 58 percent of respondents said that a 1-year long severe drought or flood in their local area would have a large or medium impact on their lives, including their house hold’s drinking water and food supply, their health, income or house, and their broader community;
• 42 percent reported that in the past year, they or a member of their household had gone without enough clean water in a day, while 24 percent said that they had sometimes to very often gone without two full meals a day;
• 28 percent said that their income does not cover their needs and they have difficulties.
Global Warming Awareness and Beliefs
• Only 7% of respondents said they know “a lot” about global warming, while 41% had either “never heard of it” or said “I don’t know”;
• When given a short definition of global warming, however, 72% said that they believe it is happening;
• 56% said it is caused mostly by human activities, while 31% said it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment;
• 61% said they are worried about global warming and 67% said the issue is important to them personally;
• Large majorities said global warming will harm future generations (67%), plant and animal species (67%), people in India (66%), people in their own community (62%, and themselves and their own family (57%);
• 50% said they have already personally experienced the effects of global warming, while 43% said that global warming is already harming or will harm people in India within the next 10 years.
Trust in Different Messengers
• Scientists were the most trusted sources of information about global warming (73%), followed by the news media (69%), environmental organizations (68%), and their own family and friends (67%);
• Governments and religious leaders were trusted by about half of respondents.
Support for Climate and Energy Policies
• 41% of respondents said the government of India should be doing more to ad- dress global warming;
• 54% said that India should be making a large or moderate-scale effort to reduce global warming, even if it has large or moderate economic costs;
• 70% favored a national program to teach Indians about global warming;
• 67% favored a national effort to help local communities build check dams to increase local water supplies
–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma