Worry about climate change remains widespread despite the pandemic and economic crisis, and continues to increase in the USA and other large emitting countries
Despite the immense impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession (documented in GlobeScan’s findings on the pandemic’s impact on inequality for the BBC), people in 27 markets surveyed also continue to care deeply about the climate crisis that is currently unfolding in parallel. Concerns about climate change and poverty remain high and steady – with the perceived seriousness of climate change on the rise in large emitting countries like the USA, China, and India. These findings emphasize that in the minds of the global public, the climate change agenda remains as urgent as ever.
In most of the 27 markets surveyed, proportions of around nine in ten or more say that climate change is a very or somewhat serious issue, with people in Mexico and Turkey expressing almost universal concern. In the least worried countries – Russia, the United States, Australia, and Sweden – as many as around eight in ten still say the issue is at least somewhat concerning.
Despite the current pandemic and economic crisis, concern about climate change has also remained remarkably steady in all markets surveyed in both 2019 and 2020; only China has recorded a significant shift, with an increase of five points in concern about the issue.
When looking back over the past six years, there has been a steady increase in concern about climate change at the global level with worries about the climate on the rise in large emitting countries like the USA, China (compared to 2015), and India. There have also been significant long-term increases in the sense of urgency in other countries, including Canada, France, Kenya, and Nigeria.
On average across the 27 countries, concern about climate change is particularly strong among women and younger generations, as well as among those with higher levels of education. In the USA, Gen Z respondents are particularly concerned, as well as those living in urban areas.
Those who live in countries where people express more concern about climate change also tend to feel more personally impacted by climate change; people in Mexico and Turkey are the most worried and also feel the strongest personal impact. In contrast, those in countries like Sweden, Australia, Germany, and the United States say they have experienced significantly less personal impact of climate change and tend to express much lower levels of concern.
GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 27 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during June of 2020.
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