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Should climate change be a priority?

WorldPublicOpinion.org recently surveyed 19 nations on whether or not government should take more action on reducing climate change.  Fifteen nations, including the largest greenhouse gas emission contributors--China, US, and Russi--believe the government should see reducing change as a high priority.  A total of  18,578 respondents were asked whether or not their government should place higher priority, has placed the right priority, or should pay less attention to climate change.  The results can be seen on the bar graphs below.










The United States has played a large role in the G-8 summit meetings pertaining to climate change.   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a recent trip to India to discuss climate change and renewable energy with Indian officials.  Yet, according to an article published by Grist, "American citizens showed the least interest of all the countries in response to this question: "How high a priority do you think the government should place on addressing climate change?"  Even China has surpassed America when it comes to placing more focus on addressing climate change.  62% of Chinese respondents believe the climate change should have higher priority when only 52% of Americans believed climate change deserves more attention.

Steven Kull, director of worldpublicopinion.org wished to share his thoughts on the result.  Mr. Kull believes, "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 of climate change.  Americans consistently say that more should be done [on climate change],” he said. “At the same time if you give them a list of priorities [to rank] climate tends not to be one that they rank as one of the most important."  The opinion polls misrepresent American citizen's desire to reduce climate change. 2004 Hall of Mirrors study, a study that focuses on perception of world leaders regarding foreign policy found:

"71 percent of the public favored ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. However, only 38 percents of U.S. leaders (senior congressional staffers, Bush administration officials, and leaders in business, labor, and media) estimated that a majority of the public would support it. Only 28 percent of leaders estimated that it would be a large majority."

What are your views on this topic? Do you think we should place more action on climate change, the government has done a good job so far, or we ought to reduce our focus and pay more attention to other public issues such as improving the economy and health care?


Tags: Climate change

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