Environmental concerns among citizens around the world have been falling since 2009 and in 2013 reached twenty-year lows, according to a multi-country GlobeScan poll. The chart shows average findings across the 12 countries for which tracking data is available since 1992. 6,774 citizens across these 12 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone on this question between 3 July 2012 and 3 September 2012. Graphic: GlobeScan

By Adam Vaughan
28 February 2013

(guardian.co.uk) – Public concern in environmental issues including global warming, the loss of species and air pollution has dropped to its lowest level in two decades, according to an international poll released this week.

The GlobeScan poll, undertaken last summer before superstorm Sandy hit the Caribbean and New York, showed levels of public concern in 12 countries over environmental problems – which also also included fresh water shortages and depletion of natural resources – were even lower than 1992, when the first Earth summit was held in Rio.

The decline has come in a period when the signs of environmental degradation have become clearer and the science stronger, from species going extinct faster than new ones can evolve to dramatic climate change impacts such as the shrinking of Arctic sea ice in 2012 by 18% against the previous record.

Doug Miller, chairman of GlobeScan, said in a statement: "Evidence of environmental damage is stronger than ever, but our data shows that economic crisis and a lack of political leadership mean that the public are starting to tune out."

On average globally, only 49% of people said climate change was a "very serious" concern, with 50% saying the same for biodiversity loss and the highest level being 58% for shortages of fresh water. The poll shows concern for most issues was rising through the noughties and declined since around 2009 when a major UN climate summit in Copenhagen failed to reach a strong deal.

Graham Thompson, a spokesman for Greenpeace, told the Independent: "The public can see that the response of our politicians is completely inadequate to the threat scientists have revealed, and that dissonance is reflected in these polls." [more]

Public concern for environment lowest in 20 years


Contact: Robin Miller, Manager, Marketing and Communications, robin.miller@globescan.com, +1 519-378-3698
25 February 2013

(GlobeScan) – Environmental concerns among citizens around the world have been falling since 2009 and have now reached twenty-year lows, according to a multi-country GlobeScan poll.

The findings are drawn from the GlobeScan Radar annual tracking poll of citizens across 22 countries. A total of 22,812 people were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone during the second half of 2012. Twelve of these countries have been regularly polled on environmental issues since 1992.

Asked how serious they consider each of six environmental problems to be—air pollution, water pollution, species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages, and climate change—fewer people now consider them “very serious” than at any time since tracking began twenty years ago.

Climate change is the only exception, where concern was lower from 1998 to 2003 than it is now. Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the 1990s. Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years.

The perceived seriousness of climate change has fallen particularly sharply since the unsuccessful UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Climate concern dropped first in industrialized countries, but this year’s figures show that concern has now fallen in major developing economies such as Brazil and China as well.

Despite the steep fall in environmental concern over the past three years, majorities still consider most of these environmental problems to be “very serious,” Water pollution is viewed as the most serious environmental problem among those tested, rated by 58 percent as very serious. Climate change is rated second least serious out of the six, with one in two (49%) viewing it as “very serious.” [more]

Environmental Concerns "At Record Lows": Global Poll

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