Two men walking in front of a colourful wall in India
The Big Conversation Climate Change, India. Image ©

Mat Wright/British Council


The Big Conversation Climate Change delivers new insights on values and attitudes towards climate change in China, India, Japan and Mexico – major world economies, who have a key role in the climate change debate. It draws upon the experience of international cultural relations experts to understand how to strengthen international co-operation on climate change and the important role that cultural relations can play to support that.

Key insights

  • There is strong support for environmental measures in China, India and Mexico, even when substantial economic costs are involved; Japan’s population is consistent in prioritising its economic position over environmental measures.
  • In India, Japan and Mexico, people with greater experience of international travel consistently prioritise environmental action over economic interests; in Mexico and India, this same audience prioritises international co-operation over national interests.
  • Valuing difference while working together towards a common goal and the values of mutuality and inclusion, collaboration and context-sensitivity are seen as a critical for effective international co-operation. 

Supporting young people

The research supports the wider British Council cultural relations response to young people globally, who see climate change as the most urgent global challenge, by providing empirical data to better understand how young people may be prepared to contribute to climate action.

Contributing to climate action

The research provides key insights for strengthening international climate mitigation initiatives, such as: favouring mutuality, collaboration and context sensitivity over top-down approaches; conducting dialogue based on a deeper understanding of values, attitudes and context; investing in cultural institutions and other elements of soft power to build the networks that are vital to climate change co-operation; incorporating climate change into education and language learning, to raise awareness amongst young people and connect them to the international debate; and harnessing the power of art to communicate the urgent need for action within communities.

Reinforcing COP26 priorities

The research highlights the role cultural relations experts and organisations have in enabling effective international co-operation and leading international action on climate change. Collaborating on climate issues, through institutional co-operation and people-to-people engagement, can bolster dialogue between the UK and China, India, Japan and Mexico, based on our shared priorities for international co-operation on climate change.

Who’s involved?

The research was conducted by LSE Consulting.

Why the British Council?

Cultural organisations like the British Council have a key role in enabling international co-operation around climate change, by creating opportunities for dialogue across cultures, differences and perspectives. We work with our network of artists and creative entrepreneurs to present scientific findings in engaging, understandable ways, to educate the public and reach those who would otherwise remain unengaged. The values of mutuality and inclusion, collaboration and context-sensitivity – highlighted in the research – are also inherent to international cultural relations.

See also