An extensive new poll shows that the majority of the world sees climate change as a major threat, with the notable exception of some populations, including Americans. Only 40% of us see climate change as something to be seriously concerned about.
The Pew Research Center poll surveyed a total of 37,653 people across 39 countries over a 2 month period. The United States was among a few countries coming in under 50% including Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and China. However, the numbers showed that more than half of people in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa said they believe climate change is a “major threat” in their respective countries.
It’s pretty interesting because you may remember a poll from April that showed a big majority of Americans accept the realities of climate change and support action. It is the level of threat we are under as a result of these realities that has yet to be widely accepted. According to this poll, it is Islamist extremist groups and North Korea’s nuclear threats that remain higher on our list of concerns.
It hasn’t helped that, until Obama’s first major speech on the subject yesterday, our government has been annoyingly silent about environmental issues over the past few years. This poll does come at an interesting time, though, since along with this speech Obama just unveiled a new plan to put federal regulations on greenhouse gasses emitted by new and existing power plants. It’s the most he’s said about how his Administration will tackle climate change since he has been in office, so it will be interesting to see if and how it affects public opinion over the next several years.
What do you think it will take for more Americans to face the realities of climate change? Do you think President Obama’s plan of action will help, or will it continue to be a dividing issue for years to come?