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Teenagers in oil-rich Russia and Saudi Arabia are slightly less worried about climate change being a global emergency than are adults, countering a trend among young citizens of G-20 countries.

Russians and Saudis under 18 are, alongside Argentines, the G-20 teenagers less likely to see climate change as a threat, according to a United Nations Development Programme report released on Monday. Less than 65% of them consider climate change an emergency, compared with more than 85% of teenagers in the UK and Italy.

“We relate this a lot to levels of education on the climate crisis,” said Cassie Flynn, UNDP strategic adviser on climate change and one of the report’s authors.

Overall, seven in 10 teenagers in G-20 countries see climate change as an emergency, compared with 65% of adults. At the same time, adults are more likely to want companies to pay for their pollution.

The US and Australia registered the largest discrepancy between teenagers’ and adults’ views. Three-quarters of Americans under 18 believe in a climate emergency, while only 65% of adults do so. Australia also saw a 10 percentage-point difference, with 82% of teens believing in a crisis.

“In places like the US and Australia that have experienced extreme wildfires and extreme heat, these young people are looking at this and they’re saying, ‘Is this our new reality?’” Flynn said in an interview.

Latin American adults are among the least concerned about climate change. While 64% of Brazilians and 62% of Mexicans see it as a global crisis, only 57% of Argentines do — the lowest number among all G-20 adults.

UNDP polled almost 690,000 people in 18 countries in the bloc between October 2020 and June, though the survey omitted China and the EU, whose governmental apparatus is also a G-20 member. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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