Public support for environmental sustainability is stronger in China than in Europe and the United States, according to a research report published on Wednesday.
A survey of 22,000 respondents in China, Europe and the United States was conducted in December 2013 and January 2014 to analyse people's attitudes toward the environment.
Research institute Motivaction International measured responses based on support for three statements: "I try to live eco-consciously," "I worry about the damage people cause to the planet" and "I am an environmentalist."
On all statements, Chinese scored considerably higher than Europeans and U.S. citizens. Concerns about pollution and the environment have been steadily rising in China over the last years.
The main conclusion showed that there was a revolutionary potential for change in China on environmental sustainability.
"The fact that the Chinese leadership is aware of the urgency of this issue was clear at the opening session of the National People's Congress in March 2014," the research report said.
During the session, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang "declared war" against pollution and pledged to fight it with the same determination the country battled poverty.
However, supporters of environmental sustainability differ substantially in Europe and the United States where environmental supporters tend to be part of the progressive political and cultural elites, the report said.
According to the survey, in China, environmentalism is more connected with conservative Chinese values, but is also supported by an ambitious and technologically-savvy vanguard of Chinese business and political life.
Researchers said Chinese believe that companies, the banking sector and technological innovation can lead the way to solutions for environmental problems.
This China-specific combination of supporter segments offers a profound potential for a sustainability breakthrough in China and is an opportunity for the Chinese authorities to combat pollution, they added.