Poll Finds Majority of Europeans Concerned Over Climate Change
October 8, 2011

Poll Finds Majority of Europeans Concerned Over Climate Change

A majority of Europeans believe that climate change is one of the world's biggest problems, and one-in-five feel that it is the most serious issue facing the planet today, according to the results of a new poll released on Friday.

Furthermore, according to the Eurobarometer study, residents of the European Union view global warming as "the second most serious issue facing the world, after poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water, and a more serious problem than the economic situation."

The research, which was conducted by TNS Opinion & Social, discovered that 89% of those polled saw climate change as a serious problem, while 68% considered it a very serious one--an increase of 4% over the past two years. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most serious, climate change scored a 7.4--an increase of 0.3 from that previous 2009 study.

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard called the report "encouraging news."

The survey shows that the citizens of Europe can see that economic challenges are not the only ones we face," she added. "A clear majority of Europeans expect their politicians and business leaders to address the serious climate challenge now."

According to Trevor Stokes of International Business Times, 26,840 residents from throughout Europe were interviewed as part of the study in June. Citizens of Luxemburg were the most concerned about climate change (34%), while people from Portugal were the least worried about global warming (7%), he added.

Furthermore, Guardian Environmental Correspondent Fiona Harvey reports that 80% of respondents said that dealing with climate change problems would help the economy and spur job growth, while 60% said they supported using taxes to penalize greenhouse gas emissions in order to encourage use of more energy efficient technology.

"However, there was less enthusiasm for people taking personal responsibility for tackling climate change," said Harvey. "Only one in five said they took personal responsibility, with more people saying it was the responsibility of national governments, EU authorities and businesses."

Poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water were the issues most survey participants were most concerned about, with 64% saying that they, combined, were the single most serious problem facing the world today. Climate change was in second, followed by the economy, then international terrorism. The availability of energy and armed conflicts were tied for the fifth position.


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