Story at a glance

  • The survey found 72 percent of people are very or somewhat concerned that global climate change will harm them personally at some point in their lives.
  • Eighty percent of respondents said they would be willing to make a lot or some changes to how they live and work to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
  • In the U.S., Americans to the left of the ideological spectrum were more than twice as likely than those on the right to make changes to their behavior in response to climate change.

A majority of people in the developed world worry climate change will affect their lives and say they would make changes in how they live to stave off the effects of the climate crisis, according to a new poll. 

The Pew Research Center poll of more than 18,800 adults in 17 advanced economies found that 72 percent of people are very or somewhat concerned that global climate change will harm them personally at some point in their lives, with about 30 percent saying they are not too or not at all concerned. 

The large survey, conducted in the spring before wildfires, record drought and other climate catastrophes struck the U.S., also shows a whopping 80 percent of respondents said they would be willing to make a lot or some changes to how they live and work to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 


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In the U.S., Americans on the left of the ideological spectrum were more than twice as likely than those on the right to make changes to their behavior in response to climate change. The survey found 45 percent of conservatives were willing to change how they live and work, compared with 94 percent of liberals. 

Several countries have seen a rise in concern about the personal impacts of global warming over the years. In Germany, 37 percent of those surveyed said they were very concerned climate change will personally harm them, a significant increase from the 18 percent who said the same in 2015. 

Meanwhile, people around the globe don’t seem convinced international efforts to tackle the issue are sufficient. Fifty percent of respondents said they are not too or not at all confident actions taken by the international community will reduce the effects of climate change, while 46 percent said they were confident. 

The U.S. and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, also failed to get satisfactory reviews from residents of other nations when it comes to their response to climate change. More than 60 percent of those polled outside the U.S. said the nation is doing a “bad job” with climate change, and 78 percent said the same of China. 

Thousands of adults were surveyed in Canada, the U.S., Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.  


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Published on Sep 14, 2021