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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Climate concerns continue to increase according to global poll

Public concern about climate change is at its highest level since GlobeScan began international tracking in 1998, according to a new GlobeScan BBC World Service poll conducted in 23 countries.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled now say climate change is a "very serious" problem. However, concern has fallen in China and the USA.

On the eve of the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, only six per cent of the 24,000 people polled want their government to oppose a climate deal being reached in Denmark.

The poll also suggests that, in spite of the global recession, an average of 61% support their governments making investments to address climate change, even if these investments hurt the economy.

However, the poll suggests that public opinion in the world's two largest emitters of CO2 is more ambivalent. While the Chinese are the most likely to support government investments to address climate change, even if these harm the economy (with 89% in favour), only 52% of Americans feel the same way.

Also, the percentage of American (45%) and Chinese citizens (57%) who see climate change as "very serious" is below the 23-country average of 64%.

The overall results suggest strong support for governments taking an ambitious approach to the Copenhagen negotiations.

On average, 44% – and majorities in 10 of the 23 countries polled – say they want their government to "play a leading role in setting ambitious targets to address climate change" at Copenhagen.

A further 39% think their government should "adopt a more moderate approach and support only gradual action".

Only six per cent want their government to oppose any agreement.

Majorities in major European nations support their government playing a strong leadership role in Copenhagen, according to the poll – 62% in the UK, 57% in France, and 55% in Germany.

Other governments being pressed by their citizens to show leadership include Canada (61%), Australia (57%), Japan (57%) and Brazil (53%).

In comparison, Chinese opinion about Copenhagen favours a "moderate approach" involving "only gradual action" (49%) over a "leadership approach" (37%).

In the United States, 36% favour a "moderate approach" and 14% oppose any agreement, outweighing the 46% of Americans who want their government to show leadership.

The results are drawn from a survey of 24,071 adult citizens in 23 countries, conducted by the international polling firm GlobeScan between 19 June and 13 October 2009.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: "The poll shows strong worldwide support for action on climate change, in spite of the recession. However, the mixed opinions in the United States and China suggest leadership in Copenhagen may need to come from others."

Notes to Editors

Detailed Findings from the poll are available in a PDF on the right-hand side of this page.

In total 24,071 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between 19 June and 13 October 2009 (the exception being Japan where the fieldwork was conducted online).

Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.

The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.2 to 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20. For more details, please visit as well as the GlobeScan Insights blog at

BBC World Service Publicity

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