The research was conducted by Ipec Inteligência (Ipec Intelligence) with 2,600 interviewees of 18 years and over in the 5 regions of Brazil, between the 28th of September and the 1st of November in 2021. The interviews were by phone with an electronic questionnaire, using a C.A.T.I. system (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview).
The electronic questionnaire for collecting the data was translated and adapted from a nationwide climate perception study in the USA conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Questions regarding Brazil were also included in the questionnaire, such as questions on the Amazon fires.
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Highlights of the research
HAVE YOU ALREADY VOTED FOR A CANDIDATE BECAUSE OF THEIR PROPOSALS FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE ENVIRONMENT?
DO YOU STOP BUYING OR USING A PRODUCT THAT HARMS THE ENVIRONMENT, FOR EXAMPLE, PLASTIC BAGS, CHEMICAL PRODUCTS OR OTHERS?
WHO CAN CONTRIBUTE THE MOST TO SOLVE THE FOREST FIRE PROBLEM IN THE AMAZON?
Climate change and global warming
Despite the importance attributed by a large part of the Brazilian population to the issue of global warming and the high degree of concern for the environment among Brazilians, only about a fifth of the population believes they have extensive knowledge about the subject. Younger and more educated participants are those who care about global warming the most, along with women and participants further to the left of the political spectrum. Knowledge on the subject, on the other hand, ends up being greater among the more educated portions and the upper social class, as well as among those who have access to the Internet, a medium that proves to be quite relevant as a source of information and content on the subject in question.
The perception among Brazilians that global warming is happening is close to unanimity, and, in fact, about eight out of ten consider that it is primarily caused by human activity. Comparing this scenario with the view of North Americans, a greater consensus on this topic is present among the Brazilian population.
Most Brazilians find it more important to protect the environment, even if this leads to lower economic growth and decreased job creation. The degree of perception regarding the damages of global warming for themselves, their families, and for the next generations is also high, although the concern for future generations tends to be greater than the concern about its more immediate effects.
Despite this widespread concern, public practices, and behaviors related to environmental protection vary considerably. Although recycling and sharing information or news in defense of the environment are frequently mentioned actions, political engagement on the subject is infrequent, as is participation in demonstrations or petitions regarding climate change. In this context, it is worth noting that the actors primarily identified by Brazilians as responsible for solving the problem of climate change are governments, in the first place, followed by companies and industries.
Based on the context of the increase in the number of forest fires in Brazil, especially in the years 2019 and 2020, the ITS survey identified that almost all Brazilians had already heard considerably about this phenomenon that occurs annually in the country, and also about those that had been happening in the Amazon specifically.
In addition, the perception of the majority of the population is that fires in the Amazon have increased in recent years and that they are primarily caused by human activity. When asked about who the main actors responsible for the fires were, the most frequently cited parties were loggers, farmers, and cattle and livestock farmers.
the fact that many Brazilians hold politicians responsible for these fires is also noteworthy, especially younger participants and those on the far left of the political spectrum. However, for half of the population, governments are the actors that should contribute most to solving this problem.
Most of the population agrees that the fires in the Amazon can harm the quality of life of the local population, the climate, and the planet’s environment in several ways. In line with the concern that Brazilians have for the environment, the vast majority disagree with the fact that the fires in the Amazon are necessary for the growth of the economy. On the contrary, this phenomenon is considered a problem that greatly harms the country’s image abroad, as well as its trade relations with other countries.