2 July 2007
2 July 2007, OXFORD - Former US vice-president and recent environmental celebrity Al Gore has topped the list of most influential people to champion the cause of global warming in a 47-country Internet survey conducted by The Nielsen Company and Oxford University.
Nearly one in five global consumers (18%) picked Al Gore as the most influential spokesperson to champion the global warming debate, ahead of former United Nations head, Kofi Annan (15%), with Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton tying as third choice (14% each). Ranked fifth with eleven percent of global votes was former South African president, Nelsen Mandela. A ‘dream ticket’ for climate ambassadors would include Al Gore and Kofi Annan, who polled as first or second choices in the most countries, together covering 34 of the 47 countries in Nielsen’s Internet survey.
While Al Gore and Kofi Annan won the overall global vote, there were some notable differences between regions and countries. Moreover, among global respondents under age 25, actress Angelina Jolie (14%) joined Oprah (15%) and Kofi (16%) as the most influential.
“Consumers clearly relate to national identities they admire and are familiar with. Our survey also identified potential spokespeople from actresses to sports stars that would also make effective global warming champions, especially influential among certain age groups,” commented Patrick Dodd, President of ACNielsen Europe, The Nielsen Company.
The online Nielsen survey, the largest of its kind to be conducted globally on the topic of consumer attitudes to climate change, was conducted in April 2007 in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University and polled 26,486 internet users across 47 countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
The survey also found that the film, An Inconvenient Truth, had had a significant influence on those that have seen it - in their awareness of the issues and their stated changes in habits and behaviors.
“An Inconvenient Truth has pushed Al Gore and the message of concern for climate change up the public agenda. This has been combined with UN scientific reports and the Stern Review as well as increased media coverage over the last months to shift the focus for many people from whether there is a problem to what to do about it,” said Max Boykoff, James Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.
“Live Earth - the 24-hour, seven-continent concert series taking place on 7th July - represents an opportunity for a broader group of people to hear about the issue of climate change, and this study was a chance to identify who might be an effective messenger. The challenge that remains is to determine which messages move people from concern to positive action,” said Timmons Roberts, James Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Not surprisingly, nearly half of South Africans choose Nelson Mandela as their top choice to champion the cause of global warming, while twenty-eight percent of Austrians chose fellow countryman-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has championed climate change legislation.
In the UK, twenty-three percent of consumers voted British entrepreneur and environmental campaigner Richard Branson as their number one choice, followed by Bob Geldof. Twenty-three percent of South Africans also voted Richard Branson as their top choice, according to the Nielsen Internet Survey.
In Asia Pacific, Kofi Annan was clearly consumers’ leading choice with 21 percent of the votes, followed secondly by Al Gore and Bill Clinton – while in Europe (19%) and North America (29%), Al Gore was the number one choice, according to the Nielsen Internet Survey.
In the Middle East/Africa, actress and roving UNICEF ambassador Angelina Jolie was the number one choice (17%), slightly ahead of Kofi Annan and Oprah Winfrey. In Latin America, rock star Bono won 28% of consumers’ votes followed by Angelina Jolie (22%) and Nelson Mandela (18%).
Twelve percent (one in eight) of global online consumers polled at the end of April this year said they had seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. More North Americans (17% - one in six consumers) watched this film than any other global region.
Sixty-six percent of viewers who claimed to have seen An Inconvenient Truth said the film had “changed their mind” about global warming and eighty-nine percent said watching the movie made them more aware of the problem. More importantly, three out of four (74%) viewers said they changed some of their habits as a result of seeing the film.
“When consumers are impacted enough to actually change some of their daily habits as a result of watching a film, it’s the surest sign that the message has gotten through,” said Dodd.
47 Markets Covered: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam.
Margin of error - +/- 4% for n=500 and +/- 3% for n=1000.
Top Two Preferred Champions for Global Warming – Globally and in Live Earth Countries
Impact of An Inconvenient Truth on Viewers’ Attitudes
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek), trade shows and the newspaper sector (Scarborough Research). The privately held company has more than 42,000 employees and is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.
About Environmental Change Institute: www.eci.ox.ac.uk
Environmental Change Institute (ECI) plays a leading role in the UK Government's three main climate research initiatives. ECI hosts the internationally-acclaimed UK Climate Impacts Programme; is a core partner in the national Tyndall Centre for Climate Change; and a lead player in the UK Energy Research Centre. It runs a world-class Masters in Environmental Change & Management with students from all over the world. Oxford University has over 150 climate researchers covering all aspects of climate science, including hosting the world's largest climate computer modelling experiment across 150 countries [www.climateprediction.net]
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