The only high-income country that’s among the 20 least-worried about global warming is the United States. According to the first-ever worldwide poll of the public’s concern about global warming, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, by Gallup, in 142 countries, the following 20 nations have the world’s highest percentages of people who say that climate change is “no threat at all,” and the per-capita GDP is shown here for each:
1. Ethiopia 39% – $772
2. Uzbekistan 31% – $1,532
3. Iraq 28% – $5,834
4. Egypt 25% – $2,549
5. Libya 25% – $7,242
6. Lithuania 23% – $19,153
7. Bahrain 23% – $24,051
8. Turkmenistan 23% – $6,967
9. UAE 22% – $43,005
10. Jordan 22% – $4,242
11. Congo Republic 21% $562
12. Myanmar 21% – $1,326
13. U.S. 21% – $63,795
14. Yemen 21% – $944
15. India 19% – $2,010
16. Saudi Arabia 19% – $23,339
17. Dominican Republic 19% – $8,051
18. Niger 18% – $414
19. Ghana 18% – $2,202
20. Liberia 18% – $677
average per-capita GDP of the 20=$10,923
average of all here but U.S.=$7,734
U.S is 8.25 times the average per-capita GDP of all the other 19 countries.
Gallup’s article, on October 6th, was headlined “World Risk Poll Reveals Global Threat From Climate Change”, and said: “The U.S. had the highest percentage of climate change skeptics among high-income countries; 21% of people in the U.S. viewed climate change as not a threat at all. Still, nearly half (49%) viewed climate change as a very serious threat, and another 24% viewed it as a somewhat serious threat.” So: even in the United States, 73% of the people see climate change as a serious threat.
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll summarized by reporting that this is the breakdown of the global public, all 150,000 survey respondents in all 142 countries, who were asked “How much of a threat is Climate change?”:
41% Very serious threat
28% Somewhat serious
13% Not a threat at all
18% Don’t know
So, for example, that 13% “Not a threat at all” compares as being 62% of the 21% in America. Or, according to this measure, the world-at-large is 54% more worried about climate change than Americans are. Nonetheless, 73% of Americans view climate change as a serious threat. Obviously, that figure is far higher in most other countries.
All of the other nations among the most unworried about climate change are either very poor countries or else major producers of fossil fuels, or both. However, some of the world’s leading fossil-fuels producers, such as Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, aren’t among the 20 that are least worried about climate change.
Furthermore, the countries that are projected to suffer the most from global warming are the ones that are the nearest to the equator, which includes most of the 20 who worry the least about global warming. The most comprehensive projection yet to the year 3000 (which is a dense 100-page document) indicates that if no action is taken, then average global temperatures will rise about 3.5 degrees Centigrade or 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100, and that if action is taken to restrain global warming, then those amounts of temperature-rise still could be reached by the year 2300. The analysis ignores what the effects of this would be on agriculture, food, and famines. Therefore, many of the important changes which will occur are completely unknown, and, essentially, ignored. Basically, there are such a multitude of feedback loops, so that scientists simply aren’t projecting; many of the most important questions are unaddressed, at this stage. For example, “there is much uncertainty and no consensus about what dynamical changes could occur in the Antarctic Ice Sheet” (which is one of the simpler questions). Man is changing the climate, but what the impacts will be from this are mainly only vaguely known, and, largely, not even yet being guessed-at. The questions that are being asked in polls concern only what the impacts might be within the next decade or two, or until the century ends. The presumption is that people care little, if at all, about what the planet will be like hundreds of years from now, much less a thousand years from now. The presumption is that people really don’t care about their descendants, but only about themselves, and maybe about their children (just a little — and not, at all, about their children). In the 20 countries that are listed here, it is clear that people care even less about the long-term future welfare of the people and other animals on this planet, and even for the continuing habitability of this planet. So, scientists, even ones who specialize in climatology, are concerned only about the near-term future. The long-term future is basically being ignored by people living today, though the decisions they make are shaping it.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.