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American Public Divided on the Need to Take Action on Climate Change

1 June 2017 – President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that the US government does not prioritize climate change, despite almost half (49%) of the American public supporting the need to take “major action” according to new research.

Results show that 56 percent of people across 19 countries surveyed say that we should take immediate major action to reduce human impacts on climate, while 28 per cent say that no major action should be taken until more is known about climate change. In the US, public support is divided, with 44 percent of respondents saying no action should be taken until we know more, compared to 49 percent who say that we should assume the worst and that immediate action is needed.

Chris Coulter, GlobeScan CEO, commented: “President Trump’s abandonment of the global consensus and united effort on climate change, which will further isolate America in the world, would not be possible without a significant proportion of the population – 44 percent – who remain skeptical of taking action on climate change. The task ahead is to engage Americans across the country in the importance and benefits of acting to address climate change. Business, local government, civil society and academia all have a role to play in building a coalition of a large majority of Americans to demand action on climate change.

GlobeScan Radar Climate Findings 2017

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About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is a strategy and insights consultancy, focused on helping our clients listen to their stakeholders and build long-term trusting relationships. Offering a suite of specialist research and advisory services, GlobeScan partners with clients to meet strategic objectives across reputation, sustainability and purpose.

We conduct research in over 90 countries and are a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London, San Francisco, Cape Town, Sao Paulo and Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit: www.GlobeScan.com



In total 18,402 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 2, 2016 and April 26, 2017. Questions were asked by half samples in all countries polled except in India. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.

In Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey urban samples were used. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.5 to 6.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


Sample Size (unweighted)
Field dates
Sample frame
Survey methodology
Type of sample
Australia 800 February 6–19, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Brazil 810 March 20 – April 10, 2017 18-69 Face-to-face Urban1
Canada 1000 January 27 – February 15, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Chile 1200 December 2–19, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
China 1171 February 24, - April 25, 2017  18+ Telephone Urban2
France 1009 February 6-16, 2017  18+ Telephone National
Germany 1002 January 13–31, 2017  16-70 Telephone National
India 1018 January 19 – March 23, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Indonesia 1000 March 8–22, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
Kenya 1010 February 1–15, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 800 March 4–9, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Nigeria 800 February 2–8, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Pakistan 1000 December 26, 2016 – January 13, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Peru 1000 April 13–26, 2017 18-70 Face-to-face National
Russia 1018 February 3-22, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Spain 797 February 8-15, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Turkey 966 March 2–20, 2017 15+ Face-to-face Urban5
United Kingdom 1001 January 27 – February 19, 2017 18+ Telephone National
USA 1000 January 19 February 1, 2017 18+ Telephone National
  1. In Brazil the survey was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo, representing 23 per cent of the national adult population.
  2. In China the survey was conducted in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Shanghai, Shenyang,Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi'an, and Zhengzhou, representing 15 per cent of the national adult population.
  3. In Indonesia the survey was conducted in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and Surabaya, representing 8 per cent of the national adult population.
  4. In Kenya the survey was conducted in Bomet, Bungoma, Elgeyo-Marakwet,Embu,Homa Bay, Kajiago, Kakamega, Kericho,Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga,Kisii, Kisumu, Kwale, Machakos,Makueni, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Siaya, Tharaka,Turkana, Uasin, Gishu, and Vihiga, representing 32 per cent of the national adult population.
  5. In Turkey the survey was conducted in İstanbul, Tekirdağ, Bursa, İzmir, Adana, Samsun, Trabzon, Ankara, Kayseri, Malatya, Diyarbakır, and Erzurum, representing 47 per cent of the national adult population.

Question Wording

Q22t. As you may know, scientists are uncertain how much impact human activities have on the world’s climate. Some people say we should not take major action to reduce human impacts on climate until we know more, because of the great economic costs involved. Other people say that we should assume the worst and take major action now to reduce human impacts on climate, even if there are major costs. Which of these points of view best reflects your own? READ. CODE ONE.

1 – No major action until we know more

2 – Assume the worst, take major action now


3 – Neither/somewhere in between

4 – Depends

99 – DK/NA

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