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Climate change will hit us hard: 7 in 10 people express fear in WEF survey

Survey conducted by World Economic Forum and Ipsos across 34 countries throws up revealing findings about attitudes towards climate change

More than seven in 10 people expect climate change to have a severe effect in their regions over the next 10 years, according to a new survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and market research firm Ipsos.

More than half of all adults surveyed (56 per cent) said climate change had already had a severe effect in the areas where they lived. One-third (35 per cent) expected to be displaced from their homes due to climate change by 2047, according to a statement released by the WEF September 15, 2022.

The survey was conducted among 23,507 adults across 34 countries between July 22 and August 5, 2022.

In 10 countries, at least four in five of respondents expected “very severe” or “somewhat severe” impacts in the next decade. These countries were:

  • Portugal (88 per cent)
  • Mexico, Hungary (both 86 per cent)
  • Turkey, Chile (85 per cent)
  • South Korea, Spain (83 per cent)
  • Italy (81 per cent)
  • France and Romania (80 per cent)

The countries where expectations about severe climate effects in the next decade were lowest were Malaysia (52 per cent), China (55 per cent), Sweden (56 per cent), Thailand (57 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (60 per cent).

On average across all the countries surveyed, 71 per cent said they expected climate change to have a very or somewhat severe impact in their area over the next 10 years (30 per cent “very severe” and 41 per cent “somewhat severe”).

The proportion of respondents describing the effect of climate change in their areas as “very” or “somewhat” severe ranged from global lows of 25 per cent in Sweden and 38 per cent in Ireland, to highs of 75 per cent in Mexico and 74 per cent in both Hungary and Turkey, averaging 56 per cent globally.

Over half of respondents in 22 of these countries indicated that they had already been severely impacted by climate change. In nine of these countries — Mexico, Hungary, Turkey, Colombia, Spain, Italy, India, Chile and France — over two-thirds of respondents said they had already been affected.

On average across the 34 countries surveyed, just over one in three respondents (35 per cent) said it was likely that they or their families would be displaced from their homes as a result of climate change in the next quarter of a century (of these, 10 per cent said “very likely” and 25 per cent “somewhat likely”).

The countries where climate change-induced displacement was seen as most likely were India (65 per cent) and Turkey (64 per cent). However, almost half of people surveyed in Malaysia (49 per cent), Brazil (49 per cent), Spain (46 per cent), and South Africa (45 per cent) also shared these concerns.

In contrast, fewer than one in four expected to be displaced from their homes in Sweden (17 per cent), Argentina (21 per cent), the Netherlands (21 per cent) and Poland (23 per cent).

The perceived likelihood of being displaced because of climate change decreased significantly with age. Globally, 43 per cent of those under 35 and 37 per cent of those aged 35-49 said it was likely they would need to move in the next 25 years because of climate change. However, only 25 per cent among those aged 50-74 shared these concerns. 

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