Concern Over Global Warming Is Cooling
While concern over climate change has risen since 2009, the world has become increasingly worried over more immediate problems, including job security, clean water, and other economic and environmental issues, claims Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey.
The study, which received input from more than 25,000 Internet users in 51 countries, found that 69% of global online responders reported that they were concerned about climate change issues, an increase from 66% in 2009 but a 3% decrease from 2007.
“Instead of climate change, consumers are more concerned about issues which may have a more immediate impact on their daily lives, such as pesticide use, packaging waste and water shortages, the survey showed,” according to a Sunday article by Nina Chestney of Reuters.
“In China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, climate change concern has dropped to 64 percent from 77 percent in the last two years,” she added. “In the United States, the second biggest emitter“¦ the number of those concerned has fallen steadily to 48 percent, from 51 percent in 2009 and 62 percent in 2007.”
Meanwhile, according to Nielsen, more subjects reported air pollution (77%) and water pollution (75%) as being top concerns, increases of 6% from two years ago, and
Furthermore, the biggest increases among environmental concerns were pesticide use, packaging waste, and water shortage. Pesticide use jumped 16% from 2009, packaging waste was up 14%, and water shortage increased by 13%, according to a August 28 press release.
“There are many possible reasons for declines in concern about climate change/global warming,” Dr. Maxwell T. Boykoff, Senior Visiting Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, said in a statement. “Focus on immediate worries such as job security, local school quality, crime and economic well-being have all diminished media attention for climate stories in the past two years. In the face of other pressing concerns, a public ‘caring capacity’ for climate change has been tested.”
The survey discovered that Latin America (90%), the Middle East/Africa region (80%), and Asia-Pacific (72%) were the areas most concerned about climate change. Sixty-eight percent of European responders expressed worry over global warming.
And the cause of falling climate change concern rates in the United States?
“During this period, Nielsen’s Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey found heightened American consumer concern around the economy, rising gas prices, and debt,” said Todd Hale, SVP Consumer & Shopper Insights of Nielsen U.S. said. “With financial concerns still on the minds of many Americans, they´re indicating less and less concern about climate change and other environmental issues.”
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