By Damian Carrington
30 August 2011

If, like me, you think urgent global action is needed to avert the worst impacts of global warming, then you will also agree that global opinion is crucial: political will is created directly out of public pressure.

So a new global survey suggests the glass is two-thirds full. Sixty nine percent of citizens in 51 nations around the world are concerned about climate change, and that two-to-one majority is essentially unchanged over the last four years. But there's less cheer in the details of the survey, conducted by Nielsen and available here (first link, free registration required).

The global climate negotiations, still the only real game in town, are dominated by the US and China. The Nielsen survey finds that less than half of Americans (48%) are concerned about global warming, compared to 51% in 2009 and 62% in 2007. With 14 point fall in 4 years, one can see why Republican climate sceptics feel comfortable rejecting the idea that every nation on earth (including their own) has accepted: that human activities are causing climate change and that the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is pressing.

More surprisingly perhaps, opinion in China is also on the slide. Concern fell from 77% in 2009 to 64% in 2011, putting it back nearer to 2007's figure of 60%.

The Guardian's Asia environment correspondent, Jonathan Watts, tells me from Beijing that public awareness of environmental issues was rising until 2009, albeit from a very low base. "Local issues such as pollution were foremost, but in 2008 and 2009 climate change rose up the political and media agenda ahead of the Copenhagen summit" attended by 120 world leaders, he says. But it has since slipped and Watts says Chinese journalists are finding it harder to interest their editors in the climate change issue.

But turning to two other big beasts at the climate talks, the opposite trend is seen. In India, concern about global warming is at 86%, up from 80% in 2007, and concern in Europe has risen from 58% to 68% since 2009.

The most concerned region of the world is Latin America (90%), followed by the combined Middle East-Africa region used by Nielsen, where concern has gone up 11% to 80% in two years. I think the Latin American case is instructive.

"Latin America has experienced a number of distressing and impactful environmental events over the last several years, and the region's consumers are increasingly attributing these events to broad climate change," says Arturo García, president at Nielsen Latin America. "People are expressing clear concern about unusual weather patterns including increased rainfall, hurricanes, and floods in some parts of Latin America, and severe droughts in others." […]

Climate change concern tumbles in US and China


  1. opit said...

    When the only flavour you look at is Vanilla, it is hard to appreciate diversity.
    Similarly, concerns over pollution may be relatively unchanged or have changed focus : with this sort of question one couldn't tell.
    The whole hypothesis that carbon dioxide warms the planet is esoteric enough for many of us. To conclude from disputed statistics promoted as 'science' in a world of lies that the solution lies in sending taxes for the use of fire to an organization controlled by the same cliques that manage the economy not immediately obvious.
    Worse, it is known that accountants' games have both been subject to court action for fraud and an enabler of continued pollution of other substances by those involved in a 'carbon credit' scheme not participated in by the 2 largest polluters !
    Rather than go into the reasons to believe in an untestable idea - foretelling the future climate - there is another : that any such would occur in a dynamic system of marvelous complexity which will have processes of which we are not even aware !
    You can't project forward what you cannot properly measure either, even if you could model.
    I know this has caused you great distress. Have you looked at the position of the Suzuki Elders ? For that matter, do you know anything about David Suzuki ?
    Like many scientists, political intrigue is not their long suit ( fiscal survival issues intrude ).
    Even so,noting dynamic processes are known to exist and our relative 'position' in any complex flux of incalculable drivers is both scary and reassuring.
    It's no wonder people take to religion. Some things just won't compute.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Quite frankly, Americans are too stupid to really care about climate change, even when their homes are blown away, washed away, or suffering extreme drought. They believe what they are "told" by the main stream media and talking heads, who have taken it upon themselves to disparage climate change and it's affects.

    Even now, in the worst drought in a 100 years, Americans are simply too ignorant to wake up. Denial is their refuge, which will mean death is their sanctuary.  


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