Six in ten Australians expect climate change to have a severe effect on their area over the next 10 years

Three in ten Australians bracing themselves for being displaced from their home in the next 25 years

Six in 10 Australians (62%) expect climate change will have a severe effect in their area over the next 10 years and globally across 34 countries more than 71%, including a majority in every single country, expect the same, a new study conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum finds. 

More than one-third globally (35%), and 29% in Australia expect to be displaced from their home as a result of climate change in the next 25 years. 

In Australia, 44% of adults surveyed and 56% globally say climate change has already had a severe effect in the area where they live, suggesting there has already been severe effects in many areas in Australia.

Ipsos Public Affairs Director, Stuart Clark, said: “Most Australians don’t feel that their local areas have been severely impacted by climate change yet. Regional Australians are slightly more likely than those in capital cities to report that they’ve been impacted. It’s likely that many in our big cities feel that they’ve been insulated from the worst of the fires and floods Australia has endured in recent years.

“However, looking 10 years into the future, two-thirds of Australians expect to be severely impacted. That speaks to a rising tide of concern among the general population and likely support for resilience planning and initiatives.”

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Detailed Findings

Majorities in 22 of 34 countries report their area has already been severely impacted by climate change

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The proportion of adults surveyed describing the effect climate change has had so far in the area where they live as very or somewhat severe ranges from 25% in Sweden to 75% in Mexico, averaging 56% across all 34 countries (15% “very severe” and 41% “somewhat severe”). 

Twenty-two countries show a majority reporting that they have already been severely impacted by climate change including nine countries where it exceeds two-thirds of all those surveyed: Mexico, Hungary, Turkey, Colombia, Spain, Italy, India, Chile, and France.

The survey finds notable regional differences within several countries where they were measured – likely reflecting recent experience with extreme heat, drought, forest fires, or floods. For example, the prevalence of having incurred severe effects of climate change is significantly higher than the national average in Greater London (vs. all of Great Britain), British Columbia (vs. all of Canada), the Western region of the United States, Southeastern France, Southern Germany, Northeastern Italy, and the Eastern part of Hungary. 

Majorities in all 34 countries expect their area will be severely impacted by climate change in the next 10 years

Concern about being severely impacted by climate change in the next decade is expressed by most adults in every country surveyed – from 52% in Malaysia to more than 80% in Portugal, Mexico, Hungary, Turkey, Chile, South Korea, Spain, and Italy.

On average across the 34 countries, 71% say they expect climate change to have a very or somewhat severe impact in their area over the next 10 years (30% “very severe” and 41% “somewhat severe”). This is 15 points higher than the percentage saying climate change has already had a severe impact where they live. The difference is highest in Sweden (31 points) and Portugal (30 points). The inverse is true in Saudi Arabia, as more say climate change has already had a severe impact where they live than believe it will have a severe impact over the next 10 years.

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Across the 34 countries, an average of 35% say it is likely they or their family will be displaced from their home as a result of climate change in the next 25 years (10% “very likely”, 25% “somewhat likely”). 

This is expressed by almost two-thirds in India (65%) and Turkey (64%) and almost half in Malaysia (49%), Brazil (49%), Spain (46%), and South Africa (45%). In contrast, fewer than one in four say so in Sweden (17%), Argentina (21%), the Netherlands (21%), and Poland (23%).

While reported and expected experience with severe effects of climate change varies little along demographic variables in aggregate at a global level, the perceived likelihood of being displaced because of climate change decreases significantly with age. Globally, 43% of those under 35 say it is likely they will need to move in the next 25 years because of climate change vs. 37% among those aged 35 to 49 and just 25% among those aged 50 to 74.

About the Study

These are the findings of a 34-country Ipsos survey conducted July 22 – August 5, 2022, among 23,507 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia, and 16-74 in 27 other countries, via Ipsos’s Global Advisor online survey platform.

Each country’s sample consists of ca. 1,000 individuals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and ca. 500 individuals in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland (Republic), Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.

The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the UAE are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these markets should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population. The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

“The Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries and markets where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market and is not intended to suggest a total result.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don't know” or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points.

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