Climate Change: Survey says…

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in the spring of 2018. In 13 of these countries, people name climate change as the top international threat.

But global warming is just one of many concerns. Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats. In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern.

Climate change is seen by more countries as a top international threat, but many people also name ISIS and cyberattacks as their top security concern

dividing line

The National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) is an on-going biannual national opinion survey on energy and climate policy from University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College. Highlights from the Fall 2018 NSEE include:

  • Global Warming Beliefs
    • Acceptance of global warming remains at record levels.
    • A majority of Republicans say there is solid evidence that the earth is warming.
    • Most Americans connect extreme weather events to the effects of climate change.
  • Carbon tax
    • A majority of Americans of both parties support a carbon tax when they are told how the revenues would be used.
    • Both Democrats and Republicans are more supportive of a carbon tax that would reinvest revenues in clean energy rather than return revenues directly to households.
    • Americans are skeptical of a carbon tax in exchange for a regulatory swap.
  • Renewable Energy
    • Large majorities of Americans of both parties support increasing the use of solar and wind energy in their state.
    • The gap between Democrats and Republicans is larger on state policies mandating or subsidizing renewable energy.
    • Both Democrats and Republicans see multiple benefits in renewable energy.
  • Global Warming and the American Voter
    • Most Americans said climate change would have a major or moderate effect on their vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
    • A majority of Democrats and Independents disapprove of President Trump’s handling of global warming.