Poll: Many Americans not all that concerned about climate change
June 25th, 2013
07:23 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Many Americans not all that concerned about climate change

Washington (CNN) – As President Obama is expected to lay out his plans for combating global climate change Tuesday, Americans don't seem to be overly concerned about the threat from the environment, according to a new poll.

Americans were far less likely to name global climate change as a major threat to their country compared to international counterparts, according to a new poll spanning more than three dozen countries from the Pew Research Center released Monday.

Just two out of every five Americans, 40%, said that global climate change was a major threat to the United States. That is compared to 54% of all countries surveyed who said climate change was a serious threat to their respective countries.

The 37,653 people surveyed between the beginning of March and the beginning of May spanned 39 countries and included those in China, Russia and Canada as well as countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Citizens of China, Israel and several other nations also registered a similarly low level of concern compared to the average of all countries surveyed.

Climate change was most likely to be seen as a serious problem in Latin America, where 65% said it was a major threat. The same was true of 54% of Canadians, Europeans and those in Africa. Of the regions surveyed, only the Middle East had a similar percentage to the U.S. of people identifying climate change as a major threat, at 42%.

The survey assessed concerns for a variety of perceived threats, from Islamic extremist groups and international financial instability to the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, political instability in Pakistan and power and influence wielded by the United States and China.

For Americans, the big concerns were North Korea's nuclear programs and Islamic extremist groups, with 59% and 54% respectively of those surveyed identifying those issues as major threats to the country.

A politically divisive issue, climate change is accepted as fact by most researchers.

In separate polls, Americans have shown a concern for climate change, with 33% identifying climate change as very serious and another 32% saying it's somewhat serious, according to a March poll from Pew.

In another March poll, Gallup found that 47% of Americans thought the government wasn't doing enough to protect the environment, while 35% thought the government was doing the right amount and 16% said too much was being done.

Pew's poll of major threats was conducted via telephone and in-person interviews between March 2 and May 1 under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The sampling error varied between countries, with the U.S. at +/- 3.5 percent and the rest between +/- 3.3 percent and +/- 7.7 percent.

Filed under: climate change • Environmental policy • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Rudy – Facts aren't permitted in the right-wing looney-sphere.

    June 25, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Thomas

    world war three will kill the planet long before climate change .


    Your just full of happy solutions .

    June 25, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Thomas

    Population ,

    Any couple having more then two children is selfish.

    June 25, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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