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1. Global Warming Awareness and Beliefs

1.1 Most people in India know just a little about global warming or have never heard of it.

Individuals, policymakers, and societies must be aware of and have at least a basic understanding of a threat to make informed decisions about how to respond to it. Only 9% of people in India say they know “a lot” about global warming, while 32% say they know “something” about it. By contrast, 20% say they know “just a little” about global warming, and 35% say they have “never heard of it.”

Compared to our survey in 2011, the percentage of people in India who say they know “a lot” about global warming has remained about the same. The percentage of people in India who have never heard of global warming is 10 percentage points higher, while the percentage who say they “don’t know” or did not provide a response is 13 percentage points lower.

It is important to note, however, that lack of awareness of the issue does not mean that individuals have not observed changes in local weather and climate patterns, as evidenced in the Observations, Vulnerabilities, and Resilience to Local Weather Events section later in this report. This suggests that many people in India may have observed changes in their local climate and weather patterns without understanding that these changes are related to the broader issue of global climate change. 1.2 A large majority of people in India think global warming is happening.

After being asked about their level of knowledge about global warming, respondents were given a short definition of it: “Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate and weather patterns may change as a result.” They were then asked, “What do you think? Do you think that global warming is happening?”

After reading the short description, a large majority of people in India (84%) said they think global warming is happening. By comparison, only 6% of people in India said they think global warming is not happening, and 10% either said they “don’t know” or did not provide a response.

The percentage of people who think global warming is happening is 15 percentage points higher than in 2011, while the percentage who say it is not happening is four percentage points lower, and the percentage who say they “don’t know” or did not provide a response is 11 percentage points lower.1.3 A majority of people in India think global warming is primarily human-caused.

A majority of people in India say that if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities (57%), while 31% say it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.

The percentage of people in India who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities is four percentage points higher than in 2011.

1.4 A large majority of people in India say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.

About three in four people in India (74%) either “strongly agree” (54%) or “somewhat agree” (20%) that they have personally experienced the effects of global warming. By contrast, only 14% either “strongly disagree” (10%) or “somewhat disagree” (4%) that they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.

The total percentage of people in India who either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that they have personally experienced global warming is 24 percentage points higher than in 2011, and the percentage who “strongly agree” is three times higher (+36 percentage points). By contrast, the total percentage who “strongly” or “somewhat” disagree is 17 percentage points lower than in 2011.