Poll finds Russia wants environmentally sustainable solutions to Covid-19 downturn

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A recent poll has revealed that 60 percent of Russians would like to see their government strengthen its response to global climate change while it devises its economic recovery from Covid-19, the Ipsos public opinion research group reported.

Yet these environmentally encouraging findings are somewhat at odds with other attitudes toward the fight against global warming, which continues to be a low priority for most Russians polled by the group.

The results come as Ipsos surveyed people from 29 different countries on whether they think restructuring after the economic calamities wrought by the coronavirus pandemic should include a shift to greener forms of energy production and transportation.

Overall, some 65 percent of the countries polled agree that solving the current economic crisis should include measures that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the long run and help world populations adapt to a changing climate.

This was especially the case in countries responsible for the biggest shares of carbon dioxide pollution. Citizens of India and China, for instance, are more than 80 percent behind shaping coronavirus recovery strategies around environmental sustainability and reducing global temperature spikes.

Russia’s 60-percent enthusiasm for this approach surpassed even Germany’s, 57 percent of whose citizens wanted to see a green approach applied to recovery from the Covid-19 calamity.

An interesting split occurs, however, when Russians are asked whether they would back a post-coronavirus economic recovery strategy that might harm the environment. Some 55 percent of respondents said they would get behind such measures.

This opinion diverges from that in other economically developed nations, whose residents were less likely to back sacrificing the environment in favor of the short term needs of the economy.

Another notable departure is whether Russians think climate change is the main environmental battle their government should fight. Only 13 percent of respondents thought this – the lowest response among the 29 nations surveyed. Instead 59 percent of Russians say problems like deforestation are the most serious environmental problems their country faces. The next most pressing issues to those surveyed are waste production, at 39 percent, and pollution, at 29 percent. Only 12 percent of Russian’s consider excess packaging to be a serious environmental problem.

When it comes to choosing politicians, the Ipsos survey found that Russians don’t consider a candidate’s focus on climate change to be much of a factor. Only 35 percent – the least among the surveyed nations – thought a politician’s policies on combatting global temperature rise were important. That’s a sharp departure from the other nations surveyed in the poll, which, at a majority of 68 percent said a politicians focus on climate change was important.

The poll also revealed an overall drop in the number of people who believe climate change is a man-made disaster. The Ipsos survey found that worldwide faith in that sentiment has fallen between 2014 and 2020 from 83 to 75 percent. In Russia specifically, faith in that belief has fallen from 75 percent to 63 percent.

Still, Russians are keen to help the environment with their pocketbooks. According to the poll, 75 percent of Russians are more apt to seek out products that are less harmful to the environment, while only 25 percent of Russians who have no intention of doing so.

That finding reflects opinion in the other 28 countries surveyed, which by 79 percent, also intend to buy environmentally sustainable products.

Some 65 percent of Russians are also more willing to separate their household waste from recyclables – a result higher than Germany’s only 40 percent willingness to do the same.