Almost nine out 10 EU citizens believe climate change is a serious problem, with 63% convinced that it is a "very serious" issue and 24% deeming it a "fairly serious" matter.
Only 10% of the sample interviewed say that climate change is not a serious problem, according to the results of a dedicated EU survey (Special Eurobarometer) published yesterday (2 December) ahead of the climate change international conference to be held in Copenhagen from next week.
The Eurobarometer poll also reveals that almost two thirds of EU citizens reject the idea that the seriousness of the problem has been exaggerated, and instead put it at the top of the priorities which the world should face today. Only poverty scores higher as global issue.
Positions change on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, US citizens tend to have a less drastic view on climate change: 65% still consider it a problem, but a growing number disagree with this idea, according to a survey carried out last October by the Pew Research Center.
Among those considering climate change a problem, only 35% think that is a "very serious" issue, down from 44% saying so last April. 32% of the interviewees do not see global warming as a serious problem, up from 24% recorded in April. 17% do not consider the matter a problem at all.
Moreover, most US citizens do not believe that global warming is a result of human activity. This assumption is at the core of current efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
33% reject the idea that global temperatures are actually rising. Another 16%, albeit acknowledging the existence of the phenomenon, do not attribute it to human actions. They think it is the consequence of natural patterns.
Those convinced that global warming is indeed a result of human activity dropped from 47% to 36% in just a few months, according to the Pew research.
Joint call for more action against emissions
EU and US citizens put aside their different views when it comes to limiting emissions. Both believe more action is required. 56% of Americans think the United States should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change, and the majority of the EU interviewees believe that more should be done to fight global warming.
Both EU and US citizens are ready to take personal measures, including accepting higher energy prices, to limit carbon emissions. A relative majority of the EU sample (49%) say they are ready to pay more for greener energy.
The relative majority of the US public (50%) also favours setting limits on CO2 emissions even if doing so would mean higher energy prices.