WASHINGTON: Strong majorities around the world back action to fight climate change, with enthusiasm especially strong in developing nations, a World Bank survey said Thursday.
The 15-nation survey, released four days before a high-stakes climate summit opens in Copenhagen, found widespread worries that global warming will eventually harm people, although also some cynicism about the science.
Eighty-eight percent of people surveyed said their country should take action against climate change, with the figure soaring to nearly 100 percent in growing Asian economies China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, the poll said.
The United States, the sole industrial power to shun the current Kyoto Protocol requiring cuts in carbon emissions, saw 82 percent approving of action in the future, it said.
There was an extraordinary level of support across high-, middle- and low-income countries for responding to an agreement at Copenhagen by committing to emissions cuts, the survey said.
The only country where support for climate action slipped below 80 percent was Russia, where 58 percent said their country should take steps against climate change.
Russians were also the most skeptical about science on climate change, with only 23 percent saying scientists have found out enough to make the problem urgent.
Overall, 51 percent around the world believed climate change was scientifically proven to be urgent. The figure was a surprisingly low 33 percent in Indonesia, host of the Bali climate conference in 2007, and also was below average in the United States (38 percent) and Japan (43 percent).
In India, 48 percent saw a scientific consensus on climate change and an unusually large 26 percent said they did not know or did not respond.
The survey also found disparities in perceptions of who would be most affected. Most nations believed strongly that poor countries would suffer disproportionately from climate change or that the entire world would be affected, but in Iran, 37 percent said rich countries would be worse hit.
The World Bank commissioned the survey from WorldPublicOpinion.org, a global project run at the University of Maryland.
It polled 13,518 people in person, by telephone or via internet in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, the United States and Vietnam. The margin of error ranged from three to four percentage points. -AFP