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majority want more action on climate change

majority want more action on climate change

Major global poll reveals almost two-thirds of people want governments to take climate change more seriously.

Businesses that can demonstrate their green credentials by helping governments tackle climate change may well find they top the polls in terms of public popularity, according to a major new global survey of more than 18,000 people.

The survey of 18,578 citizens in 19 countries was undertaken by WorldPublicOpinion.org and found that 60 per cent believe their governments should make climate change a higher priority than is currently the case. Only 18 per cent felt that current priorities were about right, while just 12 per cent felt that the matter should be given less weight.

The countries with the largest majorities demanding positive change were South Korea at 81 per cent, Mexico at 79 per cent and the UK with 77 per cent. The only nation where more than one in five of the population believed that climate change should take lower priority, however, was Germany, where 83 per cent of respondents indicated that their country already took the issue seriously enough.

Steven Kull, a director at WorldPublicOpinion.org, said political leaders could no longer rely on the argument that they lack the public support to instigate climate change policies. "Many government leaders express worry that their publics are not really ready to absorb the hardships that would come with addressing climate change. But most people around the world appear to be impatient that their government is not doing enough to address the problem," he said.

On average, nearly three-quarters of those questioned believed their governments should give climate change a priority of between six and 10 in terms of importance, with 10 being the highest rating and 7.33 being the average mean number.

People in Mexico were most enthusiastic, giving a mean rating of 9.1, followed by China at 8.9 and Turkey at 8.3. US citizens were the least eager, however. Despite the focus that President Obama is putting on energy reform, their mean rating was only 4.7 compared with the Palestinian territories at 4.9 and Iraq at 5.1.

As to how high a priority it was felt that governments were giving to the issue today, the Chinese administration rated highest at 7.3, although nearly two-thirds of Chinese citizens still wanted more to be done. Germany achieved a rating of seven, meanwhile, and the UK score was 5.9.

WorldPublicOpinion.org is a collaborative project involving research centres from across the world, although it is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The poll covered most of the world's largest nations, which together account for about 60 per cent of the global population.

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