Do people in other countries worry about climate change? A study from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford asked 80,000 people in 40 countries this year, and the results are fairly impressive. Globally, 69% of people consider climate change to be extremely or fairly serious.
In most countries, the number of people who say they’re not concerned is below 3%, with the United States having the highest rate of unconcerned citizens at 12%.
Among the most concerned countries were Chile and Kenya at the top, each with 90% very concerned. This perhaps reflects the problems with droughts and floods that both countries have experienced recently, although vulnerability to climate disaster doesn’t necessarily translate into concern. It didn’t in Australia, despite the fact that the poll was conducted in the middle of the fire season.
One finding that I thought was interesting was that among the least concerned were the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. This is low rates of people who are ‘extremely or very concerned’, and not necessarily lots of sceptics. But they’re not the countries I would have expected, especially the low-lying Netherlands.
The survey also looks at climate concern on a political spectrum, and where people get their news from. Those who are most concerned tend to get their news from television, while the unconcerned get it from the internet. Rates of story sharing online are different too, with very worried people and very unworried people often the most likely to share stories on social media, potentially pushing people towards extremes of opinion.