March 31, 2014

Many around the world see climate change as a major threat

A report issued yesterday by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the planet is already suffering significantly from the effects of climate change and that the threat will only grow more serious in the years ahead —the kind of warning that people in many nations say they take seriously.

Global climate change was the top-rated threat in a 39-nation Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring 2013. A median of 54% across these countries said global climate change was a major threat to their country, slightly more than the 52% who said this about international financial instability. High levels of concern were also expressed about Islamic extremist groups, as well as the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.  Overall, American power and influence, Chinese power and influence, and Pakistani instability generated fewer worries.

Climate change rated top global threat

Compared with others around the world, Americans are less concerned about climate change – just 40% rate it a major threat. However, there are sharp partisan differences on this issue. A 55%-majority of Democrats consider climate change a major threat, compared with just 42% of independents and 22% of Republicans.

Concerns about climate change are also relatively low in China, which has surpassed the U.S. to  become the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. Just 39% of Chinese say climate change is a major threat to their country. 

Topics: Energy and Environment

  1. Photo of Richard Wike

    is director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center.

23 Comments

  1. barbara schaefer2 years ago

    I live in Harris Co GA where the county commissioners wil not grant permission for either solar farms or the use of panels unless they are mounted on roofs. We are not in the loop with our neighboring couties which have solar farms all around us – put up by investors through Georgia Power. Is there a figure I could pass on that shows where Georgia ranks in our 50 states on either CO2 emissions or how we rank in the use of alternative energy? I believe they would respect Pew Research. Thank you. Barbara Schaefer.

  2. t love2 years ago

    Republicans are very irrational and easily persuaded by the gop. Anything those old white racist men think in congress, they quickly adapt it to being their political stance..lol Without doing research or even knowing how to attemp to do the research they make false claims. They go to other climate science deniers webpages, collect opinionated incorrect facts and regurgitate them in their own words in comment sections around the internet. Thankfully, this is the only platform they will ever have to express these opinions. These are also the kind of people who’ve voted for they palin types, Bachmann, cruz, ect. Let that sink in before actually entertaining their opinions as facts…..lol

  3. James Glasscock3 years ago

    At first, it was Global Warming, but when that premise was debunked, the alarmists merely stated using a wider brush, hoping to find something they could champion. In reality, none are thinking far enough into the future. The real problem is this: This planet can only support a finite number of people. When that number is reached, ( and I will not speculate on the number and time ) things will come to a screeching halt. So, I will propose that consideration of a plan to control the population growth become more important than a worry about Climate Change.

    1. DrT Happy3 years ago

      Boy you are SO right!. But nobody wants to talk about it.

    2. Hormigueo3 years ago

      James, how do you propose we “control population growth”? Knowing that the majority of the world’s population is in the developing world, it sounds as if you’d like to resort to coercion. Perhaps you’d be interested in introducing population limiting policies in industrializing areas? The world does not need your eugenics, but rather it requires women in the developing world to have the right to an education and adequate family planning.

  4. retired taxpayer3 years ago

    Did President Obama approve of this? If not, we’re not allowed an opinion on this subject. Just ask him if he cares what taxpayers think!

    1. DrT Happy3 years ago

      Life is to short to explain the obvious to idiots.

  5. Edward Silha3 years ago

    We accept and rely upon the judgment and opinions of experts in areas of our lives where detailed knowledge is necessary in making a good decision. We seek out lawyers with specific expertise relevant to the situation; we trust the advice of our personal physician with regard to our health. Indeed, the more technical the subject area, the more we rely on experts. Very few of us have the technical ability or time to read all of the primary literature on each cancer treatment’s biology, outcome probabilities, side-effects, interactions with other treatments, and thus we follow the advice of oncologists. We trust the aggregate knowledge of experts – what do 97% of oncologists think about this cancer treatment – more than that of any single expert. And we recognize the importance of relevant expertise – the opinion of vocal cardiologists matters much less in picking a cancer treatment than does that of oncologists. (attribution from realclimate.org).

    Yet many of the comments on this article are nothing but personal opinions of people whose knowledge of climate change pales in comparison to the collected expertise of the interdisciplinary teams of scientists (e.g., mathematicians, geoscientists, climatologists, oceanographers) that accept the findings of the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with the IPCC findings and nearly all support the findings. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific… for a list of scientific organizations that agree with the IPCC conclusions. Note that no scientific body of national or international standing rejected the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.

    If you disagree with the positions of these organizations, why should anyone consider your opinion? Do you have expertise and credentials equivalent to the members of these organizations (considering that the membership of the national academies of each country are the most capable and knowledgeable experts)? Before you post any nonsensical claims such as “It has not warmed since 1998”, read the pages at skepticalscience.com/argument.php where all the denier myths are debunked using facts rather than opinions.

    1. slk3 years ago

      please explain, why it’s different this time??? so far your friends haven’t!!!

  6. slk3 years ago

    this climate change poll, must have been taken in al’s backyard!!! i understand that there’s never been any climate change, well maybe just a smidgen, but until you can tell me what the dinosaurs, the cavemen, medieval peoples, and 19th century people, used in their cars, or aerosol cans, i can’t take these people for real!!! the temperature of the earth has hardly budged in over 15 years!!! i’m 62, and since i was a kid, every tragedy, was the “worst” yet!!! i really don’t believe in saying something over and over, to make someone believe me!!! in fact, i’ll have more respect, for these story tellers, when they “do” what they “preach”!!! boycott anything that has to do with “fossil fuels”!!!

  7. Robert L+Burwell3 years ago

    Unfortunately if your willing to check their portfolios those who profit the most from global warming are the people on the front lines for change of life style and political intervention. The only thing that stays the same about weather is change and I have wonder at the size of an ego that believes they can control nature.

    1. Dennis Nutter3 years ago

      thank you Robert for that straight forward comment. Read down to the comment from Roberta Wray. She is laying the blame for weather change on fossil fuels. The thing that these dim wits don’t understand is that fossil fuels is what has driven the innovation for any advancements in industry or scientific discovery. Those folks that believe that driving a prius will break their dependence on fossil fuels don’t understand it takes so called fossil fuels to produce the electricity to recharge their little put put’s. So far no alternative fuel has been produced with the effenciency of oil products. The 22 year sun cycle is the greatest driver of our climate and not anything caused by man. And, I hear Gore the bore is going to produce a follow up to his last stupid movie..Maybe he should let Michael Moore produce it for him…

  8. Dennis Nutter3 years ago

    I have generally respected the research reports coming from Pew but there comes a point where I just have to post on the climate change/global warming frenzy. What ever happened to real common sense, was there a free push for people get injected with stupid serum? Does anyone with a lick of sense really believe that throwing billions of dollars at the climate change agenda will actually change the climate one iota…? Driving those little electric powered cars won’t change the ambient temperature more than 0.0000000000000001 degree on either scare but if it makes you feel good and you believe you are contributing to changing the atmospheric conditions, you ought to do it because you’re part of something big. At least you’re not setting in front of the tube watching the chew, the crew, baby boo boo and PU wasting what few functioning brain cells that you have left. So, now you fine feathered environmentalists whose agenda is to control the methane gas that is passed as a by product of digestion from bovine farm animals, why didn’t the massive output of methane from the innumerable buffalo herds up until a century ago cause a catastrophic methane gas emergency? Is Carbon Dioxide really a damaging atmospheric gas that can be contained and controlled. I suspect millions of folks failed their biology exams when it came to the Krebs cycle. Industry and animals exhale carbon dioxide while plants require massive amounts of the noxious gas to produce growth. That growth is the stuff we put on our tables to eat. If you curtail the methane from farm animals, those farmers who have been surviving on a 1% profit margin will be forced to sell their herds for beef thus the production of milk will drop like a rock. Now, go to the grocery store and make a list of all the items that either contain milk or milk products and remove them from store shelves. I think you will find that your scheme to reduce carbon dioxide and methane will have a reverse effect and mass starvation will follow. I would suggest that instead you try to go after the next dangerous atmospheric problem: Dihydrogen oxide . It is so dangerous that it effects every life on planet earth. You can’t live with too much of it yet you can’t live at all without it. Environmentalists need to make it their number one priority to tackle this problem. H20 should be listed as a very dangerous chemical and outlawed at once..Once more someone left the door open and common sense has completely escaped…

    1. slk3 years ago

      thank you!!!

  9. Roberta Wray3 years ago

    Unfortunately those who most profit from the continued use of fossil fuels have spent a lot of money throwing up smoke screens and diversions from the evidence. It’s everywhere. Drought that is already affecting the price and availablity of food, has been increasing year by year. The severity and frequency of severe weather incidents are causing billions in property loss and infrastructure damage. The population of the planet bears no resemblance to the population in the last ice age.
    The advanced technology of this epoch bears no resemblence to rudimentary tools in use during the last ice age. To even try to compare this time to that is preposterous.

  10. Doug Marinchick3 years ago

    Many don’t. If the globe is warming call it Global Warming. Climate Change is just weak words for scientists to adjust their position politically when their predictions fail. They actually seem anxious for it to happen.
    They are “Eco-Doomers”.
    Thanks for fueling their fire.
    Doug Marinchick
    Cell #330-352-0202

    1. slk3 years ago

      they depend very much on those grants!!!

  11. Roger Abraham3 years ago

    While no one denies ongoing climate change, there is lots of evidence to prove that it’s a cyclical thing that’s been going on forever – the ice age shows us that. I have data from college that was put out by our own US government that shows the temp changes over eons! They are massive!
    While we may aggravate the temp some here in the US, and others also around the world, it would not change anything to any significant amount! We could dump every last dime we have into stopping it, and not make a specks worth of difference!
    The people who are crowing about this are not honest with anyone – and they just don’t have and do not present, any proof to show that this great disaster of theirs will occur any faster than the next Ice age!
    Why do we even talk about it when they don’t have any credible scientific experts to back up anything they say! To give them any credence for anything they can’t prove, or don’t even try to prove, we just need to quit giving them the bad press!!

    1. John Ford3 years ago

      In 1824 Joseph Fournier published a report on the effect Carbon emissions were making on the climate. In 1893 Svente Arrhenius, s Swedish scientist, published a report on carbon emissions. He was ridiculed at the time but won the Nobel Prize in 1903. The study of carbon emissions on climate change is nothing new and is no longer just a theory.

      1. Chas3 years ago

        The earth has warmed and cooled for millions of years. For the past 12,000 years the earth has been warming as we came out of an ice age. In a few thousand more years years will begin to cool and the glaciers will return. This is an ongoing cycle that is mainly caused by solar fluctuations, eccentricities in the Earth’s rotation on its axis, as well as gravitational influence from other celestial bodies within the solar system.

        The cynical attempt by politicians and climate alarmists to use these natural fluctuations as a scare tactic to regulate people in every aspect of their lives will in the end prove futile. This fear mongering says much about the poor state of education and the politization of science in the 21st century.

    2. Dennis Tiplady3 years ago

      Right on. You are 100% correct…it’s been going on for eons. Excellent comments.

  12. Patrick Venton3 years ago

    Major hype , based successfully on some scientists theories that support the fear factor is laying waste to the publics ability to use their own intellect in making sense of these theories. Polarization is a very useful tool to sell copy.

    1. t love2 years ago

      You do know that in the realm of science, a theory is an absolute fact….It has a different meaning when used in every day talk. There is nothing higher than a theory. Alot of ppl think that a law is better than a theory. No. If there was hierarchy a theory would come first then a law. So this isnt just some “scientists theory,” IT IS A FACT. It is also a FACT that greenhouse gasses, emissions, are harmful. Cause cancers, asthma ect. Use your brain!