Message to World Leaders in New York: Climate Change Our Biggest Fear, Say 31,000 Millennials

13 Sep 2017

Di Dai, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, Tel.:+41 (0)22 869 1405; Email:

· Ahead of the UN General Assembly, millennials worldwide say that climate change is their biggest concern, according to the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2017.

· Amid climate scepticism, 91% of respondents agree or strongly agree that science has proven that humans are responsible for climate change

· The World Economic Forum will convene its first summit dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris agreement in New York on 18-19 September

· Follow the conversation using #wefimpact #ShapersSurvey

New York City, USA, 13 September 2017 – As world leaders prepare to meet at the UN General Assembly, millennials see climate change and its destructive effects as the most serious global issue, according to the results of the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2017. More than 31,000 millennials from over 180 countries participated in the survey, which focuses on their attitudes to technology, economy, values, career and governance.

It comes as the World Economic Forum convenes its first Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York on 18-19 September 2017. The summit is dedicated to accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement through public-private cooperation and the application of technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The survey showed that climate change is the top global issue for the third year in a row, with 49% of the respondents expressing concern – followed by large-scale conflicts/wars (39%) and inequality (31%). In addition, 91% agree or strongly agree that science has proven that humans are responsible for climate change.

More than 78% of young people are willing to change their lifestyle to protect nature and the environment. In Latin America and South Asia, the numbers go up to 83% and 87%, respectively.

In previous editions of the survey, climate change rated at the top as a global challenge but ranked far lower as a national challenge. However, this year young people in several countries rated climate change as among the top three challenges in their country. These countries include: Germany, where 40% of respondents meant that climate change ranked third as a top national challenge; China, where 35% of respondents ranked it second; and the United States, where 39% of respondents ranked it third as a national challenge.

“With more than 3.5 billion of the world’s population under the age of 30, it is of concern that young people perceive decision-makers as not listening to them before decisions are made. On climate change, young people have spoken very clearly, and they will be watching to see if the world’s leaders are listening,” said Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum.

On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 82% of the young people surveyed claim to take a highly active (27%) or indirectly active (55%) role in achieving the SDGs.

An initiative of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. With more than 6,000 members, the Global Shapers Community spans 378 city-based hubs in 160 countries.

Notes to Editors

· Explore the full Global Shapers Survey data here:

· Follow the Global Shapers on Twitter at @globalshapers #ShapersSurvey

· Follow the Sustainability Development Impact Summit 2017 at #wefimpact

· Become a fan of the Global Shapers on Facebook at

Become a Global Shaper at

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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