A new survey has revealed that Americans are less likely to believe in climate change than the citizens of the rest of the world’s big economies. The fact that the issue is a controversial one in the United States shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the country’s position at the bottom of the list may be more extreme than expected. China topped the list with 93% of respondents saying that they agreed with the idea.
The results of the environment section of the survey can be found here.
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The survey, which covered several other topics, asked respondents whether they agreed with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” 16,000 respondents from twenty different countries were questioned about their view. Just 54% of Americans agreed with the position, putting the country at the bottom end of the list, just below Great Britain where 64% of respondents agreed with the view.
The survey, which was carried out by UK market research company Ipsos-MORI as part of its global trends survey, showed that 52% of American agreed that climate change was a naturally occurring event. That answer puts the country right at the extreme end of the table yet again, with only Indians more fervent in their belief about the natural actors behind climate change.
Americans also came at the extreme end on whether or not climate change was just being used by governments as an excuse to raise taxes, which 50% of the country’s population agreed with. The extreme the USA ended up in on that question was, however, the lower end. 16 country’s held a more fervent belief of the misuse of climate science.
Americans were the least worried about the environment according to the survey, but 57% of respondents did agree with a statement reading “We are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.”
Global opinions on climate change cause confusion
Despite the almost unanimous response from Chinese respondents about the man-made nature of climate change, there were serious discrepancies in their response to other questions. 75% of Chinese respondents said that they believed that scientists didn’t know what they were talking about when it came to the climate. 51% agreed that the phenomenon is a natural event that occurs from time to time.
The discrepancy in answers was not just seen in China. According to the survey 54% of Americans reckon that climate change is man-made while the other 52% believe it to be a completely natural event. 41% of French respondents agreed that climate change was a natural event, while 74% recommended we change our ways before causing environmental disaster.
The fact that America was at the bottom of this list shows little about the country given the discombobulating contradictions picked up by the questionnaire. All that’s really shown here is that the vast majority of people have very little understanding of climate change or the debate surrounding it. If that’s accepted as the key takeaway from the Ipsos-MORI survey, most of the other conclusions easily taken from the environmental section can be discounted.