30-Country Poll Finds Rising Concern Over Global Warming

April 25, 2006

A 30-country poll finds large majorities in all countries believe climate change is a serious problem. No country has more than one in five saying it is not a serious problem.

The poll of 33,237 people from all major regions of the world was conducted by GlobeScan Inc. between October 2005 and January 2006, analyzed in conjunction with WorldPublicOpinion.org. The margin of error per country was plus or minus 3 percent.

Across all countries, on average 90 percent say that “climate change or global warming, due to the greenhouse effect” is a serious problem.

Three countries have less than eight in ten endorsing this view (the U.S. 76 percent, South Africa 72 percent, and Kenya 65 percent).

In no country does more than one in five say that climate change is not a serious problem. On average only 8 percent say it is not serious. The highest percentage was found in the US (21 percent), followed by Kenya (19 percent), China (17 percent), and Nigeria (16 percent). In 23 countries a majority calls climate change a “very serious” problem. On average, 65 percent call it “very serious.”

Concern appears to have grown sharply. Sixteen countries were polled in 2003 and 2005. On average, for all 16 countries the percentage calling the problem “very serious” increased from 49 percent to 61 percent.

The hurricanes Katrina and Rita may have impacted Americans’ perceptions of the role of human causes in extreme weather patterns. Asked in the fall of 2004 how they viewed “extreme weather patterns, including violent storms, flooding, and drought,” 58 percent said they saw it as “part of a natural pattern.” In the fall of 2005, when asked the same question, the percentage attributing it to natural causes dropped 19 points to 39 percent. Now 59 percent of Americans say they see these patterns as unusual.

These findings are from the 2006 GlobeScan Corporate Social Responsibility Monitor, a poll across 30 countries (n = 1,000 in most countries), conducted October 17, 2005-January 26, 2006. Each country’s findings are considered accurate to within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Source: GlobeScan Inc.

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