New YouGov study of 30,000 people in 28 countries and regions uncovers attitudes towards climate change across the world.
Climate change has been a long-debated topic, including its existence, its causes and its potential damage to the world we live in today. As years go by, there is more research and data available, and greater global consensus on the different aspects of climate change. With 16-year-old campaigner Greta Thunberg set to speak at the UN’s Climate Action Summit this month, a new 28-country YouGov survey uncovers attitudes to climate change across the world.
For a region like the Middle East, with several low-lying major cities susceptible to rising sea levels, and recognized by the World Bank (2018) as “the most water scarce region in the world”, recognizing and acting on the implications of climate change may be critical to the region’s future.
When asked to describe their views about the global environment, half of UAE respondents (52%) said they believe the climate is changing and human activity is mainly responsible. Similarly, two in five (42%) of Egyptians stated the same, followed by only one-third (35%) in Saudi Arabia. In contrast, Western countries such as Spain and Italy, show a substantially larger proportion (69% and 66%, respectively) claiming that climate change is due to human activity.
A further 7% of Egyptian and Saudi Arabian residents allege that climate is changing but human activity is not responsible at all, while 6% of UAE respondents have the same opinion. Of the markets covered in the study, these figures are only the same or higher in the United States (10%), Norway (8%), and Sweden (6%).
YouGov’s global study also asked how much of an impact, if any, respondents believe climate change would have on their lives. The majority of respondents in the Middle East indicated that climate would have a great deal of impact on their lives, including more than half of respondents in Egypt (58%) and the UAE (56%). Conversely, respondents in Western countries are much less likely to believe the previous statement with only one in six respondents in Germany and Great Britain (16% and 17%, respectively) believing that climate change will have a great deal of impact on their lives.
Respondents were also asked to indicate who they think is responsible for the current situation with climate change. The study shows a general divide between regions. Asia and Pacific countries generally hold international bodies accountable for the current situation, while the Middle East respondents see National governments of wealthy nations as responsible. On the other hand, more respondents in the US and Europe believe that businesses and industry are to blame for the current climate change situation.
When it comes to taking action on climate change, we see a larger gap between whether respondents think they personally or their country could be doing more to tackle climate change. Almost 90% of Spaniards believe their country could be doing more to mitigate climate change, while almost 70% believe they personally could be more proactive on the matter. In contrast, only around half of those in the UAE (47%) believe their country could take more action on climate change. This could be tied to the UAE’s very well-known Vision 2021 in which the UAE government has set a roadmap for climate change mitigation, including 14 projects that are set to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions, among other initiatives.
YouGov’s global climate change survey studies many more data points in climate change perception across the 28 different countries included in the study and highlights notable differences between attitudes around the world. If you want to know more, please click here.