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Public Opinion Heats Up

World weighs in on global warming.

By Angus Reid 29 Jun 2006 |

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Al Gore isn’t a loner.

A Toronto-based investment firm predicted this week that global warming might soon leave governments "facing a choice between feeding people and feeding SUVs." The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday to hear a case against the Environmental Protection Agency that would hold the government responsible for regulating greenhouse gasses (or failing to do so). And more locally, Dorothy Cutting, 75, will embark on a six-week trip north to raise awareness about global warming. With Al Gore as the new environmental poster boy and global warming on everyone’s mind, with Katrina’s impact still fresh and forecasts for more of the same and worse, here’s a sampling of international opinion.

In the United States, the latest poll indicates that 59 per cent of Americans think global warming is a serious problem that requires immediate action. For more information, click here.

However, when Americans are asked to rank environmental concerns, global warming is well below other issues, such as water pollution, air pollution, damage to the ozone layer and the loss of tropical rain forests. For more information, click here.

In addition, the number of Americans who rate their government's actions to protect the environment as poor has increased to 62 per cent. For more information, click here.

In Canada, 59 per cent of respondents believe the Conservative government should remain committed to the Kyoto Protocol. For more information, click here.

Still, the concern is not new. Last year, 52 per cent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the record of the Paul Martin government on global warming. For more information, click here.

In Britain, only eight per cent of respondents believe global warming is not a threat to the world. For more information, click here.

But when Britons are asked to rank government priorities, addressing climate change is third, behind health care and education. For more information, click here.

Russia, the host of next month's G-8 summit, placed environmental protection as the second most important topic of the meeting of world leaders. Terrorism took the first spot. For more information, click here.

In South Korea, 48 per cent of respondents view global warming as a critical threat to their country's vital interests. For more information, click here.

Finally, a 30-country poll shows great disparities among nations. Only in the United States, South Africa and Kenya did fewer than 80 per cent of respondents consider global warming as a very or somewhat serious problem. For more information, click here.

TrendWatch runs twice monthly exclusively on The Tyee. The series shares the global scan of Angus Reid Consultants, Vancouver-based leaders in public opinion analysis.

Related stories in The Tyee: SFU professor and Tyee contributor Donald Gutstein addressed Harper’s global warming naysayers, Charles Montgomery found an under-reported culprit in the airline industry, and author-journalist Mark Hertsgaard addressed the possibility that we’re already too late.  [Tyee]

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