Market News

 August 17, 2009
Public attitudes vary greatly about global warming

 p>By Andrew Sauder - Global warming is most certainly an issue, but according to Pew Global, in some countries it is more of an issue then in others.

Public attitudes regarding global warming and climate change vary widely according to the latest edition of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey.

This annual survey, which reviews global attitudes on a wide range of subjects, was carried out in 25 countries across all five continents, and included global powers as well as emerging economies.

One of the questions put forth by the survey asked citizens to decide whether they thought global warming was a serious problem.

Argentina and Brazil topped the list as countries where citizens regarded global warming as a serious problem. Brazil occupied the number one slot with 90% of those surveyed view global warming as a serious concern, while Argentina was second with 69% result.

Canada and the U.S. ranked far down on the list. Of the Canadians surveyed, only 47% viewed global warming as a serious concern.  The United States tied with Russia with 44% of their citizens seeing global warming as a serious issue.

Ranking lowest was China, with only a 30% level of concern among those surveyed.

The survey notes that countries with the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions (the United States, Russia, and China) reported the lowest levels of public concern about global warming

Ranking in Western European varied.  France ranked third overall with a public concern ratio of 67%.  Spain and Germany were not far behind with respective measures at 61% and 60% occupying the 9th and 10th spots on the PEW Survey list. 

The U.K. came in well behind other Western European nations, occupying the 16th slot with 50% of the public surveyed believing that global warming was a serious issue. 

While global warming was not considered a major problem by many nations surveyed, questions aimed at gauging public views on protecting the environment generated more positive results

When surveyed about the statement "Protecting the environment should be a priority, even if it causes slower economic growth and some loss of jobs," the results were more positive across the board.

In Canada, 76% of those surveyed agreed with the statement compared to 64% in the U.S.  In China 82% of those surveyed agreed with the statement.

While there were solid majorities in most countries that protecting the environment should be a priority - even at the expense of economic growth - there was less of a consensus whether people should pay higher prices to deal with climate change.

Of the 25 nations surveyed, public responses in 11 nations opposed paying higher prices to help forestall climate change. 54% of Canadians polled said they were willing to pay more compared to 41% of US citizens in the survey.

The results of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey provide a reminder about the variability of public attitudes about global warming and environment. 

For More Information: Pew Charitable Trusts