According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, people who live in countries with high per-capita levels of carbon emissions, such as the U.S. and Russia, are less likely to be concerned about climate change than people in countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia with a much lower per-capita level of carbon emissions.
The impacts of climate change can already be seen throughout the world. People living in poor countries are particularly vulnerable, even if they don’t live in coastal regions. Climate change is causing extreme heat, natural disasters, and can affect social and environmental determinants of health, such as, clear air, drinking water, food, and secure shelter. Ironically, the countries that are most affected are often small contributors to overall carbon emissions. Only 40% of Americans believe that, “Rich countries, such as the U.S., Japan, and Germany, should do more than developing countries because they have produced most of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions so far.” The majority of people in other countries in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Africa believe that rich countries should bear a heavier burden.
Ironically, the countries that are most affected are often small contributors to overall carbon emissions.
American concern and perceptions of the role that the United States should play in combating climate change will have worldwide consequences . The U.S. is one of the largest contributors of carbon emissions and thus, can play a pivotal role. However, there is a major lack of consensus on the topic. Climate change is a polarizing issue in the U.S., often along political party lines. Another Pew survey showed that 79% of liberal Democrats believe that climate change is mostly due to human activity while only 15% of conservative Republicans believe so. The gap among moderates is a little narrower but still polarized: about 34% of moderate Republicans believe that the “Earth is warming mostly due to human activity” compared to 63% of moderate Democrats.
Databyte via Bruce Stokes, Richard Wike, and Jill Carle, “Concern about Climate Change and Its Consequences.” Pew Research Center.