The survey was carried out by the North American institute “Pew Research Center” in 17 advanced economies in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, including countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea and the United States. It was held last spring and involved nearly 20,000 people in total.
According to the results released today, there is widespread concern about the personal impact of climate change, with most respondents admitting to some changes in the way they live and work, although it is not clear that these efforts have an impact.
Considering the 17 countries, an average of 34% of respondents said they were willing to consider “many changes” in daily life as a response to climate change.
The survey was carried out ahead of the latest waves of fires, droughts, floods and stronger-than-usual storms, such as the floods in Germany this summer, but reveals a growing sense of personal threat to climate change. In Germany, for example, the percentage of those who were very concerned about the personal consequences of global warming increased by 19 percentage points compared to 2015, from 18% to 37%.
Research findings also indicate that young adults are more concerned about the personal impact of a warming planet than older people. The biggest difference was found in Sweden, but it was also considerable in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, United States, France and Canada.
Regarding the ideological spectrum, it was found that people identified with the left are more open to taking personal measures to help reduce the effects of climate change. This difference between left and right was most evident in the United States.
In 12 out of 17 countries, half or more of respondents felt that their own society has done a good job of tackling climate change.
But the vast majority see the US and Chinese response to climate change as weak. On an average of the 17 countries 78% of respondents described as “bad” the way China deals with climate change, and 61% also judged the response of the United States as “bad”.
Of the total respondents 52% said they do not believe that a global response to climate change will be successful, compared with 46% who believe that countries can jointly respond to the impact of climate change.