Adults around the world think climate change impacts will be severe: poll

FILE – Large Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland, Aug. 16, 2019. The Biden administration said Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, that it will upgrade its engagement with the Arctic Council and countries with an interest in a region that’s rapidly changing due to climate change. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

More than half of adults surveyed worldwide said that climate change has already had a severe impact on their lives, a World Economic Forum-Ipsos poll released Thursday revealed.

In 34 countries across six continents, 56 percent of the more than 23,500 adults polled responded that they felt such effects.

More than a third said they expect to be forced from their homes by climate change within 25 years, while 71 percent agreed that climate change would have somewhat or very severe impacts on their countries within the next decade, according to the survey.

“We are in a climate crisis,” Gim Huay Neo, managing director and head of the World Economic Forum’s Center for Nature and Climate, said in a statement.

“The survey results affirm that across the world, people already feel the effects today and fear for their futures tomorrow,” Gim Huay added.

In North America, residents of regions that have suffered from extreme heat, drought and forest fires — such as the U.S. West and British Columbia — were more likely to report severe impacts than other residents of their countries, according to the study.

Responses about climate change severity likewise stood out in southeastern France, southern Germany, northeastern Italy and eastern Hungary, in comparison to other parts of these nations, the survey reported.

The countries in which the most respondents expected very or somewhat severe impacts of climate change in the next decade were Portugal (88 percent), Mexico and Hungary (86 percent), Turkey and Chile (85 percent), South Korea and Spain (83 percent), Italy (81 percent), and France and Romania (80 percent).

In nine countries — Mexico, Hungary, Turkey, Colombia, Spain, Italy, India, Chile and France — more than two-thirds of respondents said they had already been severely affected by climate change.

Those places where expectations about severe climate impacts were the lowest were Malaysia (52 percent), China (56 percent), Sweden (56 percent), Thailand (57 percent) and Saudi Arabia (60 percent), according to the survey.

Respondents in India and Turkey said they were most likely to be displaced due to climate change.

Meanwhile, fewer than 1 in 4 individuals expected to be displaced in Sweden, Argentina, the Netherlands and Poland.

On average, reported and expected experiences with severe effects were similar across varying demographics, although women tended to report and predict slightly worse climate impacts than men, according to the survey.

“The crisis affects everyone,” Gim Huay said. “We have to work together, to adapt to climate change, and concurrently, accelerate and scale action towards a healthier, greener, and more sustainable planet.”

The poll, conducted for the World Economic Forum by market researcher Ipsos Global Survey, reached 23,507 adults under the age of 75 between July 22 and Aug. 5.

Tags Climate change climate displacement drought France Germany Italy severe weather Spain wildfires
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