I was interested to read the results of your recent survey on concern about climate change around the world. Thank you for taking the time to ask 23,577 people in 31 countries how worried they are about climate change.
However, I would like to point out a problem with the distribution of opinion. I made a quick map of the countries where citizens had an opportunity to take part in the survey, and those you didn’t ask:
Ipsos, you forgot to ask Africa.
Not entirely – I see that South Africa features. But you would never ask France, and expect the French to speak for all of Europe. Why should that be any different in Africa, with South Africa representing an entire continent of 54 countries and 1.4 billion people?
This is doubly important on the topic of climate change, because if we map the 20 countries most and least vulnerable to climate change, it looks like this:
Of the 31 countries you asked, 15 of them are among the world’s least vulnerable countries to the climate crisis. How many of the top 20 most vulnerable countries did you ask?
Your Earth Day survey on ‘global attitudes to climate change’ is therefore heavily skewed towards countries that are far from the front lines of the climate emergency. (It’s also biased towards former colonial powers.)
I appreciate that running a survey is easier in Sweden or Switzerland than it is in Somalia or Sudan. But Africa is the continent most affected by climate change. You have left out the voices that most need to be heard.
If you were to ask, you would find that Africa’s climate story is as diverse and interesting as anywhere else. A story of disaster and increasing threat, from drought in Ethiopia to cyclones in Madagascar – but also of solutions, adaptation and resilience, from re-forestation in Senegal to bus transit systems in Tanzania to geothermal energy in Kenya.
I hope that you will be able to invest more in polling in Africa, and that next year’s survey will be more truly representative of what the world thinks about climate change.