Climate Change in the Indian Mind

Report Summary


Millions of Indians are observing changes in their local rainfall, temperatures, and weather, report more frequent droughts and floods, and a more unpredictable monsoon.

  • A majority of respondents said their own household’s drinking water and food supply, health, and income are vulnerable to a severe drought or flood and that it would take them months to years to recover.
  • Only 7 percent of respondents said they know “a lot” about global warming, while 41 percent had never heard of it or said, “I don’t know.” However, after hearing a short definition of global warming, 72 percent said they believe global warming is happening, 56 percent said it is caused mostly by human activities, 50 percent said they have already personally experienced the effects, and 61 percent said they are worried about it.
  • Scientists were the most trusted sources of information about global warming (73%), followed by the news media (69%), and environmental organizations (68%). Government and religious leaders were trusted by about half of respondents.
  • 54 percent 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.
  • Majorities favored a variety of policies to waste less fuel, water, and energy, even if this increased costs.
  • 70 percent favored a national program to teach Indians about global warming.

The report is based on a national survey conducted in November and December 2011 of 4,031 Indian adults, using an approximately 75 percent urban and 25 percent rural sample. The study was designed to investigate the current state of public climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior, as well as public observations of changes in local weather and climate patterns and self-reported vulnerability to extreme weather events. The survey margin of error was +/-1.54%

JPEGs of all figures are available.