World Less Than Satisfied With Climate Efforts

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  • Less than half of people in 66 countries are satisfied with protection efforts
  • 48% in the US are satisfied
  • Strong majorities in China (89%) and India (78%) are satisfied

WASHINGTON, DC — In the remaining days of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, nearly 200 countries are scrambling to find agreements that will keep climate goals alive.

If they don’t fall far enough, it will likely disappoint, but not surprise, the majority of the world’s population, who are dissatisfied with efforts to protect the environment.

In 66 of the 123 countries surveyed by Gallup in 2021 and 2022, less than half of people report being satisfied with their country’s efforts to protect the environment.

This list includes many, but not all, of the world’s top carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming. For example, while less than half of adults in one of the largest emitters — the U.S. — are satisfied with their country’s efforts to protect the environment, strong majorities in other large emitters, such as China (89%) and India (78%) are. are satisfied.

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Events like COP27 bring leaders together to agree policies and pledge future actions for their countries, but many past COP agreements have failed to translate into real action. For example, all participating countries agreed at last year’s summit to set tougher climate targets by 2022, but so far only about 30 countries have done so. Furthermore, global CO2 emissions will increase this year.

In this regard, the world is as divided and somewhat skeptical as its leaders: An average of 49% of adults in the 123 countries surveyed are satisfied with their country’s efforts to protect the environment, and about 48% are dissatisfied.

The climate history of the United States since the Paris agreement is more complicated

From 1750 to 2020, the US is estimated to have emitted 417 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. The US is the largest emitter of CO2 during this period – almost twice that of the next highest country, China, with 236 billion tonnes. This cumulative measurement helps to show the long-term environmental impacts that different countries have had over time.

An agreement between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday to resume cooperation on climate change could help boost stalled negotiations at COP27. But how this agreement will be accepted in the country is still unknown.

Unlike China, where 89% were satisfied with environmental efforts in 2021, 48% of Americans were satisfied in 2022, more than a relatively low level of satisfaction since the US first agreed to join the Paris Agreement in 2015. .

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From 2006 to 2014, Americans’ satisfaction with U.S. environmental protection efforts remained mostly between 50% and 60%. But since the US joined the Paris Agreement (leaving it in 2020 under President Donald Trump and returning to Biden), satisfaction has not reached 50%.

This back-and-forth on joining/withdrawing/re-joining the Paris climate accord reflects the mutual polarization between concerns about the environment and global warming in the US.

The approval of their country’s leader was not a factor in whether Americans were satisfied with their country’s environmental efforts in 2015 and 2016, with President Barack Obama in office. That changed between 2017 and 2020, under Trump, when the difference in satisfaction with environmental efforts was nearly 50 percentage points between those who approved of Trump’s overall job performance and those who disapproved.

While environmental satisfaction levels remained below 50% between 2017 and 2020, adults who approved of Trump were 47 to 57 points more satisfied with environmental efforts than those who disapproved of Trump’s performance. They did not like it. This is in 2021, when Biden takes office. Those who approved of Biden were 16 points less satisfied than those who disapproved. These divisions have largely disappeared in 2022.

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Consequences

At the opening of the COP27 climate summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated the benefits of reaching an agreement on climate change: “We are in a fight for our lives – and we are losing.”

Although the extent of public dissatisfaction around the world with their country’s environmental controls is clear, many agree with this statement, just as many are satisfied with what their country is or is not doing. Like their leaders, the world’s people are largely divided in their efforts to protect the environment.

To stay up-to-date with the latest insights and updates from Gallup News, follow us on Twitter.

For the full methodology and specific survey dates, please see the Gallup Country Dataset details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.



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