8 in 10 see climate change as ‘catastrophic risk’ now

LONDON:Eight in 10 people say they are ready to make changes to their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats found on Wednesday.

London, May 24

Eight in 10 people say they are ready to make changes to their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats found on Wednesday.

The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries — the United States, China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany — found that 84 per cent of people now consider climate change a “global catastrophic risk”.

That puts worry about climate change only slightly behind fears about large-scale environmental damage and the threat of politically motivated violence escalating into war, according to the Global Challenges Foundation, which commissioned the Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report.

But it indicates that many people now see climate change as a bigger threat than other traditional or rising concerns such as epidemics, population growth, use of weapons of mass destruction and the rise of artificial intelligence threats.

On climate and environmental issues, “there’s certainly a huge gap between what people expect from politicians and what politicians are doing. It’s stunning”, said Mats Andersson, vice-chairman of the Stockholm-based foundation.

The survey, released in advance of this week’s G7 summit of advanced economies in Italy, also found that 85 per cent of people think the United Nations needs reforms to be better equipped to address global threats.

About 70 per cent of those surveyed said they think it may be time to create a new global organisation — with power to enforce its decisions — specifically designed to deal with a wide range of global risks. Nearly 60 per cent said they would be prepared to have their country give up some level of sovereignty to make that happen.

The Global Challenges Foundation, created in 2012 by a Swedish risk specialist and philanthropist, looks for more effective solutions to cross-border problems and ways to resolve the mismatch between long-term problems and short-term political and market focuses. — Reuters

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