Almost 40% of young people fear having children in the future due to risks of climate change, survey finds

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  • Scientists analyzed a survey of 10,000 youth from 10 countries
  • Nearly 60% said they are very or extremely concerned about climate change
  • 39% said they are hesitant to have children because of climate change risks

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Most young people are concerned about climate change, a new survey has revealed.

A study based on a survey of 10,000 children and youth found that more than three quarters (77 percent) thought the future was terrifying and nearly six in 10 said they were deeply concerned about climate change.

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More than half said they felt scared, sad, anxious, powerless, helpless and/or guilty, and nearly half (45 percent) said their worries negatively affected their daily lives.

Findings suggest that young people also feel that governments are failing them, deceiving generations to come, lying about the effects of actions taken on climate change and people’s distress about the issue. are rejecting.

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Less than a third (31 percent) think governments are doing enough to avoid catastrophe, and nearly two-fifths (39 percent) say they are hesitant to have children, although this figure varies from country to country. The middle is quite wide.

Carolyn Hickman of the University of Bath, co-leader of the study, said it points to a ‘terrifying picture’ of widespread climate concern among children and youth and suggests a link to government inaction.

A study based on a survey of 10,000 children and youth found that more than three quarters (77 percent) thought the future was terrifying and nearly six in 10 said they were very or extremely concerned about climate change.

key findings

One study based on a survey of 10,000 children and youth found:

– 77% believe the future is terrifying and almost six out of 10 say they are very concerned about climate change

– More than half have felt scared, sad, anxious, powerless, helpless and/or guilty, and 45 percent say their worries negatively affect their daily lives.

– 31 per cent believe governments are doing enough to avoid catastrophe, and 39 per cent say they are hesitant to have children.

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The study, which is subject to peer review for publication in The Lancet Planetary Health, collected data from 10,000 youth aged 16-25 through the research platform Kantar.

Respondents came from 10 countries: the UK, Finland, France, Portugal, the US, Australia, Brazil, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.

The survey, developed by 11 international experts in psychology, child and adolescent mental health and climate concern, was conducted earlier this year.

It has been released as the UK prepares to host the major global climate talk, Cop26, in Glasgow in November, which will see leaders under pressure to step up their action to curb rising temperatures, which are increasingly exacerbated by extreme weather. situation and against the backdrop of stern warning. Scientists about passivity.

The UK findings, based on 1,000 young people, show that 72 per cent of people have a terrifying future, and 38 per cent say they are hesitant to have children.

Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of UK respondents believe the government is failing the youth, and only a third (32 per cent) think it is acting in line with science.

Only a quarter (26 per cent) think the UK government is doing enough to avoid catastrophe.

More than half have felt scared, sad, anxious, powerless, helpless and/or guilty, and 45 percent say their worries negatively affect their daily lives (stock image)

More than half have felt scared, sad, anxious, powerless, helpless and/or guilty, and 45 percent say their worries negatively affect their daily lives (stock image)

Ms Hickman said: ‘This study paints a frightening picture of widespread climate concern among our children and youth.

‘This suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress among youth are linked to government inaction.

‘Our children’s concern is a completely rational response to the inadequate response to climate change they are seeing from governments. What else do governments need to hear to take action?

Dr Liz Marks from the University of Bath and co-lead author on the study said: ‘It is shocking to hear that so many young people around the world feel betrayed by those who are supposed to protect them.

‘Now is the time to face the truth, listen to the youth and take immediate action against climate change.’

Last month, the UN’s climate science body, the IPCC, issued a scathing warning that humans were clearly driving climate change through actions such as burning fossil fuels, such as deadly heatwaves, fires, floods and hurricanes. were being felt.

It warned that without immediate and drastic action to cut emissions, climate extremes will continue to worsen.

Key goals of the Paris climate agreement

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with respect to reducing emissions:

1) Long-term goal of keeping the increase in global mean temperature below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels

2) Aim to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, as this will significantly reduce the risks and effects of climate change

3) Governments agreed on the need to peak global emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries

4) then sharply cut according to the best available science

Source: European Commission

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