Berlin: Concerns about climate change shrank across the world last year, a survey shows, with fewer than half those questioned believing it posed a “very serious threat” to their countries in the next 20 years. Only 20 per cent of people in China, the world’s biggest polluter, said they believed that climate change was a very serious threat, down 3 percentage points from the previous poll in 2019, the survey by Gallup World Risk Poll showed on Wednesday (October 19). Globally, the figure fell by 1.5 percentage points to 48.7 per cent in 2021, it said.
The COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about more immediate issues such as health and livelihoods may partly explain the drop, the survey, based on over 125,000 interviews in 121 countries, showed.
Climate change awareness rose slightly in the United States in 2021, the second biggest global polluter, to 51.5 per cent, it added.
Regions with the highest ecological threats are on average the least concerned about climate change, with only 27.4 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa and 39.1 per cent of South Asian respondents concerned about the risks.
The findings come ahead of the next round of global climate talks when countries meet in Egypt in November for COP27.
But despite the shrinking concern, the ecological bill of climate change is growing globally.
A study by the Institute for Economics and Peace of 228 countries and territories found that 750 million people globally are now affected by undernourishment and climate change as well as rising inflation, and Russia’s war in Ukraine will exacerbate food insecurity in the future.
More than 1.4 billion people in 83 countries face extreme “water stress”, where more than 20 per cent of the population do not have access to clean drinking water, the study showed.
Several European countries are expected to experience critical clean water shortages by 2040, including Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal, the report found, which will also hit most of the sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.
Annually, air pollution has cost the world $8.1 trillion, or 6.1 per cent of global gross domestic product, causing between 6 to 9 million death, the study showed, adding that the average global cost of natural disasters reached $200 billion annually, four times higher than in the 1980s.
“Negotiators at COP27 need to consider the ways in which climate change is exacerbating the impacts of ecological threats … and how the international community can mitigate them,” Steve Killelea, the founder of the Sydney-based institute, said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.