People across the world are increasingly worried about climate change, especially Gen Z
Citizens across the world are increasingly saying that climate change is a serious issue; it now ranks among the top of a range of 18 global issues that people in 25 countries surveyed say are “very serious.” Concern about climate change ranks third after terrorism and environmental pollution in general, and on par with corruption and the depletion of natural resources.
Over the past five years, concern about climate change has increased across an average of 17 countries tracked over time, including in several large emitter countries such as the United States, India, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.
However, the level of concern about climate change varies widely among the 25 countries surveyed. Countries with the smallest proportions of people who perceive climate change as a very serious global threat are China, Russia, Japan, and the United States – four of the five top emitters of carbon dioxide. In India, the world’s third-largest emitter, people tend to be significantly more worried about the issue.
Worries about the environment and climate change are likely to continue to grow, especially as younger generations tend to be significantly more tuned in to the urgency of these issues than older people, no matter how concerned their country’s citizens are on average. In both the United States and China, for example, younger people tend to see climate change as very serious more than those who are older. This is in line with the 25-country average where Millennials, and Gen Z in particular, tend to be the most worried. Other results also show that younger people across the world feel more guilty about their own impact on the environment than those in older age groups.
These findings suggest that there will likely be increasing participation in citizen-led movements around climate issues, many of them youth-focused. People around the world expect both governments and companies to take action to prevent further changes to the climate, and there will likely be reputational repercussions for those who do not act on this critical issue.
GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.
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