Four in 10 adults throughout the world have never heard of climate change, according to a new Yale-led study in “Nature.”
Using data from the 2007-2008 Gallup World Poll, the researchers looked at what the world’s population thinks about climate change and why.
“This is the first and only truly global study where we have climate change opinion data from over 100 countries, so it allows us to compare the findings across the world,” lead author Tien Ming Lee, a Princeton University researcher, said in a statement.
In general, the main difference was how aware people in developed and developing countries were of climate change:
In many developed countries (e.g. North America, Europe, Japan), over 90% of the population is aware of climate change. In developing nations though, the percentage is much smaller — although people reported having noticed changes in local weather.
Co-author Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and study lead, said that the results clearly showed that improving education was vital for public support of climate change.
“Overall, we find that about 40% of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change, this rises to more than 65% in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh, and India,” Leiserowitz said.
The researchers noted that while previous studies had found that Americans’ view on climate change was strongly linked to their politics, but that there is little global data looking at how political ideology influences climate change views.
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Barbara Tasch is a news intern for Business Insider.
Image: Splinters of ice peel off from one of the sides of the Perito Moreno glacier in a process of a unexpected rupture during the southern hemisphere’s winter months, near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina. REUTERS/Andres Forza