The Asahi Glass Foundation Announces the Results of the 29th Annual “Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind”
● The average time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock is now 9:47, the same as that in 2018 when the strongest sense of environment crisis was felt since launching the survey in 1992.
This is produced via an annual survey of invited experts around the world. Ted Manning is one of the many respondents and has obtained the most recent results to share with CACOR.
● Respondents in Oceania and North America reported a higher sense of crisis, in the 10 o’clock range. Conversely, respondents in Africa reported the lowest sense of crisis, in the 8 o’clock range, showing 2 hours difference from that in North America.
● As in previous years the survey respondents aged 60 or over tend to report more advanced times on the Clock than other age groups.
● Since 2011, among the environmental issues to be taken into account, which are used to calculate the time on the Clock, Climate Change has been the most often selected category.
● In terms of the time on the Clock, “Biosphere Integrity (Biodiversity),” as it did last year, has the time closest to midnight.
● With regard to the transition to a decarbonized society, a positive change was seen from all three viewpoints, “Public Awareness,” “Policies and Legal System,” and “Social Infrastructure.”
● The category most commonly identified as showing signs of improvement in approach was “Climate Change.” The Asahi Glass Foundation (Chairman: Takuya Shimamura) has conducted an annual survey with environmental experts from around the world since 1992. This year, we sent the questionnaire to 205 countries around the world, and received responses from 1,813 people in 137 countries. Below are the main points from this year’s questionnaire results.
Further details are available in the report of the “29th Annual Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind,” or online at the Foundation’s web site, starting at 11 a.m. September 8. I. Awareness of the Crisis Facing Human Survival – The Environmental Doomsday Clock I-1 The Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock Fig. 1 Change in the Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock Since 1992 For Immediate Release ・
The time on the Clock for the world is 9:47, which is one minute closer to midnight than last year. This Year and 2018 have recorded the closest time to midnight. (Fig. 1, 2) ・As with last year’s time of 9:46, respondents have shown a strong sense of crisis through the three consecutive years. The time on the Clock is now closer to midnight by almost two hours than when the survey was launched in 1992. (Fig. 2 and Table 1) Fig. 2 Change in the Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock over Six Years ・Of the 10 regions surveyed, the time is closer to midnight than last year in five regions, whereas in the 5 remaining regions the time is further from midnight. The time receded back in only 2 regions last year, Asia and Africa. (Fig. 3) Fig. 3 Regional Times on the Environmental Doomsday Clock ・The time on the Clock in Africa receded back by 25 minutes (8:59 to 8:34), compared to the time last year, but is still in the 8 o’clock range compared to receding back from the time in 2010 by nearly two hours. (Fig. 3) (see all figures on Asahi website)
・The change in the time from last year is largest in Eastern Europe & former Soviet Union, 17 minutes (9:13 to 9:30); the time on the Clock is over 50 minutes closer to midnight compared to the time (8:42) in 2018. (Fig. 3) Fig. 4 Changes in the Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock since 1992 ・In analyzing the changes in the time of the Clock since launching the survey, respondents have consistently indicated times in the “extremely concerned” quadrant in the 9 o’clock range since 1996, with the exception of 2000. (Fig. 4) I-2 Changes in the Times on the Environmental Doomsday Clock by Generation (2011 – 2020) ・While all age groups are developing a stronger sense of crisis each year, the result shows only a small change overall from last year. (Fig. 5) ・As in previous years the survey respondents aged 60 or over tend to report more advanced times on the Clock than other age groups. (Fig. 5) ・The survey respondents in all generations have been feeling sense of crisis, selecting “Extremely Concerned,” every year since 2012. (
Changes in the Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock by Generation II. “Environmental Issues to be Taken into Account” in Determining the Time on the Clock (World) In determining the time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock, the questionnaire asked respondents to select, from the following nine categories of environmental problems, the three most pressing issues for the country or region where they reside, and rank them in the order of importance. (See the Questionnaire Report for further details.)
Nine Environmental Issues to be Taken into Account: 1. Climate Change, 2. Biosphere Integrity (Biodiversity), 3. Land-system Change (Land Use), 4. Biochemical Flows (Pollution/Contamination), 5. Water Resources, 6. Population, 7. Food, 8. Lifestyle (Consumption Habits), 9. Society, Economy and Environment, Policies, Measures II-1 Weighted Average Selection Percentage of the Nine Environmental Issues ・The top two issues that the respondents selected in determining the time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock time have remained unchanged for three years in a row: “Climate Change” ranked first (30%), followed by “Biosphere Integrity (Biodiversity)” at 14%. (Fig. 6) II-2 Weighted Average Time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock of the Nine Environmental Issues ・When arranging the “Environmental Issues to be Taken into Account,” for the entire world on the Environmental Doomsday Clock, “Biosphere Integrity (Biodiversity)” was at 9:57, “Climate Change” 9:52, and “Biochemical Flows (Pollution/Contamination)” 9:50. They were all closer to midnight than the world’s average time.
Last year, the time on the Clock for “Climate Change” was 9:44, two minutes earlier than the last year’s world average. This year, however, the time is 9: 52, five minutes closer to midnight than the world average, indicating growing sense of crisis about “Climate Change.” Fig. 6 2020 Distribution of the Environmental Issues (showing selection rate of respondent’s 3 most pressing issues as a percentage and the time on the clock) III. Signs of Improvement in the Approach to Environmental Issues: Comparison with the Situation Prior to 2015 When the Paris Agreement and SDGs were adopted. Signs of improvement were investigated from the three perspectives, (1) Public Awareness, (2) Policies and Legal System, and (3) Social Infrastructure (Funds, Human Resources, Technologies, and Facilities). We asked the respondent’s opinion on whether there have been signs of improvement in the approach to global environmental issues with respect to a decarbonized society and where they saw signs of improvement from a list of “Environmental Issues to be Taken into Account.” We calculated the average score by quantifying the answers giving a score of “-2” for the answer “Definitely not shifting,” “-1” for the answer “Not really shifting,” “0” for the answer “Cannot say either way,” “+1” for the answer “Somewhat shifting,” and “+2” for the answer “Definitely shifting.” III-1 Progress in a Transition to a Decarbonized Society ・A positive change was seen from all three viewpoints, “Public Awareness,” “Policies and Legal System,” and “Social Infrastructure.” (Fig. 7) ・Overall, the results indicated that there were some signs of improvement in the efforts to transition to a decarbonized society but the same degree of progress was not made in “Policies and Legal System” and “Social Infrastructure” as in “Public Awareness.” (Fig. 7) Fig. 7 Progress in a Transition to a Decarbonized Society: Score Ranges and Average Scores from 3 Perspectives III-2 Categories Showing Signs of Improvement ・
The category most frequently selected for showing signs of improvement was “Climate Change” at 28%, followed by “Lifestyle” and “Society, Economy and Environment, Policies, Measures” both at 14%. (Table 2) ・Concerning efforts against “Climate Change,” the respondents see more improvements in “Public Awareness(1.28)” than in “Policies and Legal System (0.59)” and “Social Infrastructure (0.75).” (Table 2) ・Sixteen percent of the respondents replied “No improvement at all.” (Table 2) This survey includes a section where respondents are invited to provide their opinions and write about the environmental realities they face in their region of the world, as well as offer suggestions for improvement. This year, we received a total of 935 comments from 113 countries abroad. These comments will be published on the Asahi Glass Foundation website at 11a.m. on September 8.
For more information, please contact: Toshihiro Tanuma, PhD, Director, Commendation, “Blue Planet Prize” The Asahi Glass Foundation 2nd Floor, Science Plaza 5-3 Yonbancho Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0081, Japan Phone: +81-3-5275-0620 Fax: +81-3-5275-0871 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: https://www.af-info.or.jp Table 2. Signs of Improvement: Selection Percentage and Average Score in Signs of Improvement Selected Category Selection Percentage (%) Public Awareness Policies, Legal System Funds, Human Resources, Technologies and Facilities Climate Change 28 1.28 0.59 0.75 Lifestyle 14 1.09 0.52 0.60 Society, Economy and Environment, Policies, Measures 14 1.07 1.02 0.91 Biosphere Integrity (Biodiversity) 8 1.05 0.72 0.51 Biochemical Flows (Pollution/Contamination) 7 1.09 0.91 0.79 Water Resources 5 0.94 0.87 0.72 Land-System Change (Land Use) 3 0.70 0.66 0.45 Population 3 0.96 0.50 0.42 Food 2 1.33 0.85 0.90 No Sign of Improvement 16 – – – Appendix
● About the “Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind” Since 1992, the Asahi Glass Foundation has conducted a survey every year with experts around the world who are knowledgeable and are involved in environmental issues. The respondents are those who are working for governments, universities, research institutions, NGOs, corporations, and mass media. These experts are queried about various endeavors to counter environmental problems. The questionnaire is produced in six languages (English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish) and is sent out in April every year, and collected by June. After the responses are compiled and analyzed, the survey results are published in September. This year, the questionnaire was sent to respondents in 205 countries including Japan, with responses returned from 137 countries. The highest respondent percentage by attribute is, universities and research institutions, corporations, NGOs/NPOs, central governments, local governments, and mass media in descending order. (Fig.8, Table 3) ● Facts about This Year’s Questionnaire Survey period: April to June 2020 Respondents: Environmental experts working for national or local governments, NGOs, NPOs, universities and research institutions, corporations, and mass media, worldwide (listed on the Asahi Glass Foundation database). Number of questionnaires mailed: 27,925 (26,779 to overseas respondents and 1,146 to respondents in Japan) Number of questionnaires returned: 1,813 Response rate: 6.5% Fig. 8 Breakdown of Respondents by Occupational Affiliation Table 3. Number of Countries Surveyed Regions Number of Countries Africa 54 Asia 25 Central America, The Caribbean 27 Eastern Europe & Formwe Soviet Union 28 Western Europe 23 Middle East 16 North America 2 Oceania 17 South America 13 Total 205 Table 4. Number of Respondents Surveyed Region Number of Respondents ％ Japan 365 20.1 Overseas 1448 79.9 World Total 1813 100 Africa 86 4.7 Asia 1017 56.1 Central America, The Caribbean 76 4.2 Eastern Europe & Former Soviet Union 46 2.5 Western Europe 223 12.3 Middle East 28 1.5 North America 176 9.7 Oceania 49 2.7 South America 112 6.2 World Total 1813 100