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Global surveys show environmental concerns rank low among public concerns
Date:2/25/2013

2/25/2013, Chicago, IL--A newly released international study reveals that the issue of climate change is not a priority for people in the United States and around the world.

The surveys showed that when asked to rank priority worries, people were five times more likely to point to the economy over the environment. Additionally, when asked about climate change, people identified the issue as more of a national problem than a personal concern.

Coordinated surveys, conducted by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) in 33 countries from 1993 through 2010, "are the first and only surveys that put long-term attitudes toward environmental issues in general and global climate change in particular in an international perspective," said Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey, a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, and author of a paper that summarizes the surveys.

In the surveys, respondents were asked the relative importance of eight issues: health care, education, crime, the environment, immigration, the economy, terrorism and poverty.

The economy ranked highest in concern in 15 countries, followed by health care in eight, education in six, poverty in two, and terrorism and crime in one country each. Immigration and the environment did not make the top of the list in any country over the 17-year period; in the United States, the economy ranked as the highest concern, while concern for the environment ranked sixth.

In terms of national averages, the order of concern was the economy (25 percent); health care (22.2) education (15.6); poverty (11.6); crime (8.6) environment (4.7), immigration (4.1) and terrorism (2.6), the surveys showed. Terrorism's low ranking was notable in light of the widespread attention the issue has received since 2001, though it topped the list of concerns in Turkey.

The paper, "Public Attitudes towards Climate Change and
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Contact: Ray Boyer
boyer-ray@norc.org
312-330-6433
NORC at the University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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