Billions of people believe they will be affected by our rapidly-changing climate over the next five years.
That’s one of the key findings of a massive new survey of more than 125,000 people around the world – and the study has also found that a third of the Earth’s population feel less safe than they did just half a decade ago.
According to the World Risk Poll, which is based on surveys carried out in 121 countries, the two areas in which people’s experience of harm increased the most between 2019 and 2021 were severe weather and mental health, reports the Express.
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The percentage of people worldwide who reported that they or someone they knew had experienced serious harm from severe weather events increased from 22 to 27 percent over the two years.
The polling – commissioned by global safety charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation and carried out by Gallup – reveals that more than two-thirds of people view climate change as a serious threat to their country, including two-fifths who called it a “very serious threat”.
Psychologist professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin, of the University of Southern California, said: “Climate scientists have been warning about climate change for decades.
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“Public opinion initially did not reveal much concern, including in the 2007 Gallup World Poll. The 2019 World Risk Poll marked a big shift and showed that over two-thirds of people thought of climate change as a threat.
“That figure remains similar in 2021, despite the pandemic and associated economic problems, which suggests that climate change remains front-of-mind for a majority of people across the world.”
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The places which saw the largest rises in terms of people feeling less safe overall were central and western Africa and south-eastern Asia, reports the Express.
The things that are most-often cited as being threats to people’s safety are road accidents, crime and violence, and non-Covid health issues.
Despite the pandemic that killed millions of people around the globe, only seven per cent of those polled cited Covid as a risk.
The full findings of the report – A Changed World? Perceptions and Experiences of Risk in the Covid Age – are on the World Risk Poll website.
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