For Indians, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton are the most influential people to champion the cause of global warming, as 28 per cent Indian respondents voted for them. Kofi Annan bagged the third place in India with 26 per cent of votes, while Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie got a share of 20 per cent and 19 per cent of the votes, respectively. The 47-country Internet survey was conducted in April 2007 by The Nielsen Company and Oxford University.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Beckham, Bono of music band U2, Leonardo Di Caprio, Richard Branson, and Salma Hayek are among others whom Indian respondents thought would be influential in championing the cause of global warming.
Former US Vice President and recent environmental celebrity Al Gore topped the survey. A ‘dream ticket’ for climate ambassadors would include Gore and Annan, who polled as first or second choices in most countries, together covering 34 of the 47 countries in Nielsen’s Internet survey.
While Gore and Annan won the overall global vote, there were some notable differences between regions and countries. Among global respondents under the age of 25, Angelina Jolie bagged 14 per cent of the votes; Oprah Winfrey bagged 15 per cent, while Annan bagged 16 per cent of the votes.
“Consumers in India seem to relate to international personalities who have been in the news. Further, many of these are identities they admire and are familiar with. Our survey identified potential spokespeople from actresses to sports stars who would make effective global warming champions,” commented Sarang Panchal, Executive Director, Client Solutions, South Asia, The Nielsen Company.
The online Nielsen survey to be conducted globally on the topic of consumer attitudes to climate change was conducted in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University. It polled 26,486 Internet users across 47 countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
The survey found that the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ had a significant influence on those who saw it. “The film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has pushed Al Gore and the message of concern for climate change up to the public agenda. Gore’s argument is that we cannot afford to view global warming as a political issue; rather, it is the biggest moral challenge to face our global civilisation,” said Panchal.
Seven per cent of Indian consumers polled said they had seen Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, with 64 per cent of viewers who claimed to have seen the film said that it had “changed their mind” about global warming, while 82 per cent said watching the movie made them more aware of the problem. More importantly, 61 per cent viewers said that they changed some of their habits as a result of seeing the film.
Timmons Roberts and James Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford said that the Live Earth concert on July 7 represented an opportunity for a broader group of people to hear about the issue of climate change. They further added that the study was a chance to identify that who might be an effective messenger. “The challenge that remains is to determine which messages move people from concern to positive action,” they explained.
Nearly half of South Africans choose Nelson Mandela (49 per cent) as their top choice to champion the cause of global warming, which also leads the top 10 countries where Nelson Mandela got the maximum votes; India is second on the list. In Asia Pacific, Kofi Annan was clearly the consumers’ leading choice with 21 per cent of votes, followed by Al Gore and Bill Clinton.