What are you afraid of? Everyone’s afraid of something, whether that be crime, death, heights, spiders, or clowns. Something that everyone – particularly the poorest members of society – should fear is climate change. Unlike plenty of other concerns, this one is actually a serious, existential threat.
Fortunately, according to a new global survey, much of the world has recognized that looming shadow of climate change. As reported by Pew Research, 61 percent of nearly 42,000 people across 38 countries consider the man-made phenomenon to be one of the greatest threats to their lives – just behind ISIS, which ranked at 62 percent.
The top eight perceived threats are as follows:
1 – ISIS (62 percent)
2 – Global climate change (61 percent)
3 - Cyber attacks from other countries (51 percent)
3 – Condition of the global economy (51 percent)
5 – Refugee movements from Iraq, Syria and similar (39 percent)
6 – US power and influence (35 percent)
7 – Russia’s power and influence (31 percent)
7 – China’s power and influence (31 percent)
Before we go into actual threat risks versus the perceived risks here, let’s look at the breakdown between the different countries. As a caveat, the ISIS statement was not tested in Turkey, the US statement was not tested in America and the Russia statement was not tested in Russia.
The terrorism threat was ranked #1 in 18 countries spread across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. In 13 countries, mostly throughout Latin America and Africa, climate change is the #1 threat.
The results throw up some interesting results that suggest that the political climate of a country also affects how seriously it takes climate change as a threat. Canada and Mexico, for example, ranks climate change as the top threat, but – perhaps unsurprisingly – America sees ISIS as being more threatening.
In America, ISIS (74 percent) is ranked above cyber attacks (71 percent), which is then followed by climate change (56 percent). Intriguingly, Spain shows the greatest proportion of people ranking climate change as the top threat (89 percent), whereas just 35 percent of Russians feel the same – the lowest on the list.
Overall, it seems that those on the ideological right are more concerned about terrorism and refugees; those on the left are far more concerned about climate change – something that’s observed in other surveys, particularly in the US and Europe.