World Concerns About Climate Change Dwindle – Survey

Nytimes logo2 A Nielsen/Oxford University internet survey showed that 37% of respondents in 54 countries are "very concerned" about climate change (vs. 41% in 2007). In the United States, the poll recorded a more dramatic drop, down to 25% from 34%. Nielsen blamed the economic crisis on the decrease. According to the poll, the greatest % of respondents with concern about climate change are in Latin America and Asia-Pacific countries.

Posted Dec. 6, 2009
By Reuters, NYTimes

World concern about climate change
has fallen in the past two years, according to an opinion poll on
Sunday, the eve of 190-nation talks in Copenhagen meant to agree a U.N. deal to fight global warming.

Reuters The
Nielsen/Oxford University survey showed that 37 percent of more than
27,000 Internet users in 54 countries said they were "very concerned"
about climate change, down from 41 percent in a similar poll two years
ago.

"Global concern for climate change cools off," the Nielsen
Co. said of the poll, taken in October. It linked the decline to the
world economic slowdown.

In the United States, the number two
emitter after China and the only industrialised nation outside the
U.N.'s existing Kyoto Protocol for curbing emissions, the number of
those very concerned fell to 25 percent from 34.

President Barack Obama
wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil
fuels, and plans to join more than 100 world leaders in Copenhagen at
the end of the December 7-18 meeting to try to reach a new U.N. deal.

China,
the top emitter of greenhouse gases, was among few nations surveyed
where the number of people very concerned rose, to 36 from 30 percent.

The
survey indicated the highest levels of concern were in Latin America
and Asian-Pacific countries, topped by the Philippines on 78 percent
which was struck by Typhoon Ketsana in September. The poll did not
cover most of Africa.

Those least concerned by global warming,
blamed on human emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil
fuels, were mainly in eastern Europe. Estonia was bottom with just 10
percent saying they were very concerned.

Jonathan Banks, Business
Insights Director Europe of the Nielsen Co., said that worries about
climate change may now be picking up with the focus on Copenhagen.

"Economic woes temporarily knocked the climate change issue off the top line agenda, but as the recession is now beginning to recede, we expect the Copenhagen summit to push this important issue to the front again," he said.

Worldwide,
air and water pollution followed by climate change were the top three
environmental concerns for the world population, the survey found.

(Editing by Matthew Jones)

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