Climate change and Islamic State seen as world’s major threats - survey

Climate change is ranked alongside the Islamic State as one of the world’s two greatest threats with increasing numbers of people concerned about global warming, according to an international survey by a US think tank.

The Pew Research Center survey of nearly 42,000 people in 38 countries showed the percentage of respondents who believe climate change is a major threat has risen to 61 per cent from 54 per cent in a similar survey four years ago.

People in 13 countries, mainly in Latin America and Africa, identified climate change as the top threat to their country.

People around the world are generally concerned about climate change. They worry about the toll on their own personal lives, and they’re also concerned about it generally for their own countries.

Jacob Poushter, senior researcher, Pew Research Center

A total of 62 per cent of respondents ranked Islamic State as the top threat with people in 18 countries ranking the ultra-radical militant group as the main danger.

“People around the world are generally concerned about climate change,” Jacob Poushter, a senior researcher and co-author of the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“They worry about it personally, about the toll on their own personal lives, and they’re also concerned about it generally for their own countries.”

Cyber attacks, the global economy and refugees from Iraq and Syria were also ranked in the top five global threats.

The survey found Latin Americans most concerned about climate change, with 74 per cent of respondents in seven countries seeing climate change as a major threat to them.

Climate change was also ranked as a key concern in Africa where an average of 58 per cent of respondents saw it as a major threat.

“One possibility, based on the countries that seem more concerned about climate change, is that those which are less economically developed and don’t have capabilities to combat central changes in the climate might be more concerned about climate change,” Poushter said.

Other countries were less concerned about climate change, with Russia and Israel at the bottom of the list with 35 and 38 per cent of respondents respectively seeing climate change as a major threat.

Every country involved in the survey initially agreed to the Paris climate goals announced in 2015 to limit global warning although US President Donald Trump has since decided to pull out of the pact.

This story was published with permission from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

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