Global Warming Seen as a Major Problem Around the World

  • December 02, 2009

When world leaders convene in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week to discuss climate change, they will be addressing a concern that, as the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey finds, is widely shared throughout much of the world. The survey, conducted May 18 to June 16, also reveals that majorities in 23 of 25 countries agree that protecting the environment should be given priority, even at the cost of slower economic growth and job losses. And many are willing to make sacrifices, such as having to pay higher prices, to address global warming.

Concern about climate change is much less pervasive in the United States, China and Russia than among other leading nations. Just 44% in the U.S. and Russia, and even fewer in China (30%), consider global warming to be a very serious problem. By comparison, 68% in France, 65% in Japan, 61% in Spain and 60% in Germany say that is the case.

Americans' views of global warming divide along ideological lines – liberals are more than twice as likely as conservatives to say global warming is a very serious problem (66% vs. 30%). Surveys from 2008 and 2009 suggest that an ideological divide is also evident in Britain, where 66% of those on the political left rate global warming as very serious, compared with 42% of those on the right. A smaller ideological split exists in Germany, France and Spain.

Read the full commentary Global Warming Seen as a Major Problem Around the World on the Pew Research Center's Web site.