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Wealthy Countries Less Concerned about Climate Change: Global Poll

Press Release

26 November 2015 – Global public concern about climate change has declined over the past six years, especially in industrialized countries, and support for national governments leading on ambitious climate targets at next month’s Paris Climate Conference is down from levels measured prior to the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.

Less than half (48%) of citizens living in industrialized countries (OECD members) now rate climate as a “very serious” problem, down from 63 per cent in 2009. Interestingly, a higher percentage of citizens in non-OECD countries (54%) now rate climate as a “very serious” problem.

Only 8 per cent of citizens across 21 countries polled want their government to oppose any climate deal being reached in Paris. An average of 43 per cent want their government to play a leadership role in setting ambitious targets, while another 40 per cent want their government to take a more moderate approach and support only gradual action.

These are the major climate findings from GlobeScan’s latest 21-country poll, conducted face-to-face or by telephone with a random sample of about 1,000 citizens in each country mainly during January and February 2015, and released here for the first time. The BBC had asked GlobeScan what their long-term polling suggests about public opinion on climate negotiations.

Compared to results of a similar question asked six years ago prior to the Copenhagen Climate Summit, there is less support today for ambitious climate leadership by governments. Support for leadership on ambitious targets has declined in eight countries and only increased in three. Canada, France, Spain, and the UK are the only four countries that today have majorities wanting their government’s leadership on ambitious targets in Paris. Countries with majorities or pluralities favouring a more moderate approach and only gradual action include Mexico, Indonesia, Germany, and China.

The poll findings do suggest that citizens have become significantly more informed about climate change over the past fifteen years, however. Almost twice as many today blame human-caused climate change or rising CO2 levels for extreme weather events, compared to a GlobeScan poll in January 2000. More than seven in ten people now point to human factors, including pollution and other causes, as the reason for extreme weather events when asked without prompting.

Doug Miller, GlobeScan Chairman, says: “Our polling suggests a less supportive public opinion context for a Paris deal this year compared to stronger support that existed prior to the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009. Real leadership and effective diplomacy will be needed for success in Paris.”

Research Methodology

A total of 20,043 citizens across some 20 countries were interviewed by telephone or face-to-face between December 2014 and May 2015. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In certain developing countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. Some questions were asked to half-samples. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 3.5 to 6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


For full methodology, question wording, and detailed results, please see the drop-down links at the bottom of this article.

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In total 20,043 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 5, 2014 and May 7, 2015. 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 +/- 3.5 to 6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


Sample Size (unweighted)
Field dates
Sample frame
Survey methodology
Type of sample
Australia 802 February 2–28, 2015 18+ Telephone National
Brazil 805 January 18 –February 12, 2015 18-69 Face-to-face Urban1
Canada 1013 February 24 –March 23, 2015 18+ Telephone National
Chile 1200 December 12, 2014 – January 10, 2015 18+ Face-to-face National
China 1000 January 30 – March 10, 2015 18+ Telephone Urban2
France 1006 February 5–18, 2015 18+ Telephone National
Germany 1000 January 26 – February 9, 2015 16-70 Telephone National
Ghana 504 March 23 – April 2, 2015 18-75 Face-to-face National
India 1284 February 21 – March 13, 2015 18+ Face-to-face National
Indonesia 1000 January 26 – February 10, 2015 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
Kenya 1010 February 2–19, 2015 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 800 December 13–17, 2014 18+ Face-to-face National
Nigeria 800 February 26 – March 5, 2015 18+ Face-to-face National
Pakistan 1000 January 5–25, 2015 18+ Face-to-face National
Peru 1007 January 24 – February 4, 2015 18+ Face-to-face National
Russia 1007 April 23 – May 7, 2015 18+ Telephone National
South Korea 1000 February 6–9, 2015 19+ Telephone National
Spain 800 February 5–13, 2015 18+ Telephone National
Turkey 1001 December 5–26, 2014 15+ Face-to-face Urban5
United Kingdom 1001 January 27 – February 1, 2015 18+ Telephone National
USA 1003 February 2–28, 2015 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, Beiliu, Chengdu, Dujiangyan, Fenyang, Fuyang, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Manzhouli, Quanzhou, Qujing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shuangcheng, Wuhan, Xi’an, Xining, and Zhengzhou, representing 64 per cent of the national adult population.
  3. In Indonesia the survey was conducted in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and Surabaya, representing 27 per cent of the national adult population.
  4. In Kenya the survey was conducted in Kakamega, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, and Nyeri, representing 45 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 55 per cent of the national adult population.

Question Wording


Q2A. How serious a problem do you consider each of the following issues to be? Is each of the following a very serious problem, somewhat serious problem, not very serious problem or not a serious problem at all?

ct) Climate change or global warming, due to the Greenhouse Effect

01 – Very serious problem

02 – Somewhat serious problem

03 – Not very serious problem

04 – Not a serious problem at all


99 – Don’t know / No answer



Q17B. What, if anything, do you think is the major cause of these extreme weather patterns?


01 – Man-made climate change / carbon dioxide levels / global warming / Greenhouse effect

02 – Air pollution (in general)

03 – Ozone hole / ozone layer depletion

04 – Forest practices

05 – Other man-made changes / environmental pollution (general) / human carelessness / other human factors

06 – Natural changes / cycles of Nature / random factors / other natural factors (e.g. volcanic eruptions)

07 – El Nino / la Nina

08 – Spiritual / religious factors / Biblical predictions

97 – Other (Do not specify)

98 – Not asked

99 – Don’t know / No answer



Q20. In December 2015, countries from around the world, including [COUNTRY], will meet in Paris to discuss how they can work together to reduce emissions of gases that cause climate change.

Which of the following do you think should be [COUNTRY’s] strategy at this meeting?


01 – Play a leadership role in setting ambitious targets to address climate change as quickly as possible.

02 – Take a more moderate approach and support only gradual action to address climate change.

03 – Do not agree to any international agreement that addresses climate change.


04 – Depends

99 – Don’t know / No answer

Research Partners

Country Research Institute Location Contact
Australia GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
Brazil Market Analysis Florianopolis Fabián Echegaray
+55 48 3364 0000
Canada GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
Chile Mori Chile Santiago Marta Lagos
+56 2334 4544
China GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
France Efficience 3 Paris and Rheims Thierry Laurain
+33 1 4316 5442
Germany Ri*QUESTA GmbH Teningen Bernhard Rieder
+49 7641 93 43 36
Ghana Business Interactive Consulting Limited Accra Razaaque Animashaun
+233 302 783140 / +233 302 782892
India Team C Voter Noida Yashwant Deshmukh
+91 120 424 7135
Indonesia DEKA Marketing Research Jakarta Ratna Mulia Darmawan
+62 21 723 6901
Kenya Research Path Associates Ltd. Nairobi Charles Onsongo
+254 20 2734770
Mexico Parametría Mexico City Francisco Abundis
+52 55 2614 0089
Nigeria Market Trends Lagos Jo Ebhomenye
+234 1734 7384
Pakistan Gallup Pakistan Islamabad Ijaz Shafi Gilani
+92 51 2655630
Peru Datum Lima Urpi Torrado
+511 215 0600
Russia CESSI Institute for Comparative Social Research Moscow Vladimir Andreenkov
+7 495 650 55 18
South Korea East Asia Institute Seoul Wonchil Chung
+82 2 2277 1683
Spain Sigma Dos Int. Madrid Petrana Valentinova
+34 91 360 0474
Turkey Yöntem Research Consultancy Ltd. Istanbul Mehmet Aktulga
+90 212 278 12 19
United Kingdom Populus Data Solutions London Patrick Diamond
+44 207 553 4148
USA GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767

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