Japan and the United States were the only two countries of 17 surveyed that saw a decline in the percentage of “very concerned” citizens regarding the impacts of climate change, according to a Pew Research Center report published Sept. 14
Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan all saw increases between 2015 and 2021 in respondents who are “very concerned that global climate change will harm them personally at some point in their lifetime.”
Germany had the highest increase (19%), followed by the UK (18%), Australia (16%) and South Korea (13%), while Japan saw an 8% and the U.S. a 3% decrease.
In Japan, the percentage of citizens who are “very” or “somewhat” concerned fell from 82% in 2015 to 74% in 2021, while those “not too” or “not at all” concerned rose from 17% to 26%.
Despite the three-point drop in respondents “very” concerned in the U.S., there was a one-point increase to 60% in respondents who are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned, due to a four-point increase in those “somewhat” concerned. Those “not too” or “not at all” concerned in the U.S. fell two points to 39% from 2015 to 2021.
Of the countries surveyed, South Korea had the highest percentage of citizens (88%) who are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about climate change harming them personally, followed by Greece (87%), Spain (81%) and Italy (80%).
Sweden had the highest percentage of citizens (56%) who are “not too” or “not at all” concerned, followed by The Netherlands (41%), the U.S. (39%) and Australia (35%).
In nearly all countries surveyed, respondents who identified as politically “left” were more likely than those identifying as politically “right” to be “very / somewhat concerned that climate change will harm them personally” and to “be willing to make a lot of / some changes to how they live and work to help reduce the effects of global climate change.”
In the U.S., the disparity between the left and right was the widest on both items, with a 59-point and 49-point difference, respectively.
On the matter of climate change concern, Australia had the next largest gap (41%), The Netherlands (35%) and Canada (30%), while on the question about making changes Canada had the next largest gap at 26 points, followed by The Netherlands (25 points), Australia (23 points) and Germany (22 points).
The margin of error for the full sample of respondents is plus-or-minus 2.7%.