Spotlight: What's Up With The Heat?

International Citizens Divided On Climate Change, Ipsos Finds

Spotlight: What's Up With The Heat?

New York, NY - With the future of the Kyoto Accord far from certain, new results from a ten-country Ipsos survey show that public opinion spans a wide range of positions on global warming--and whether or not it is the force behind the extreme temperatures some parts of the world have been experiencing. The surveyed countries were Brazil, Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., Russia, China, India, and Japan1. The survey, conducted by Ipsos World Monitor, a global consumer and civic trends reporting service, put this question to respondents: "Some parts of the world have experienced very hot weather this past [2003] summer. In your own opinion, do you think this is evidence of `global warming' or is it just part of weather patterns that vary from year to year?" Some samples of result highlights:
  • Japanese were the most likely to believe the hot weather proved global warming (79% chose this option), with urban Chinese next in line (66%).
  • Fewer than 4 in 10 in the U.S. and urban Russia and only one-quarter in middle and upper class urban India chose the global warming verdict, preferring instead the conclusion that the hot summer was just part of weather patterns that vary from year to year.
  • In Canada, the U.K, and France, opinion came out nearly perfectly divided between "global warming" and "weather patterns", suggesting a polarized and vigorous debate in these countries.
  • Outside of Asia, young women were more apt to see the hot summer as evidence of global warming than were other socio-demographic groups, with older men the least persuaded by this argument. But the situation was reversed in the three Asian countries polled, with younger people slightly more skeptical of the global warming point-of-view.
Of the findings, World Monitor editor in chief Kiley Turner noted that they were "very timely, given that the future life of the Kyoto Accord now hangs in the balance as countries like Russia decide whether or not they will ratify, and the U.S. and Australia so far refuse to sign on." She continued that "it's probably no coincidence that the surveyed citizens who were the least inclined to see this past summer's heat wave as global warming were in the U.S., Russia, and India--all countries that have voiced strong worries about the economic implications of the Accord." 1 Brazil, China, India and Russia included urban samples only, and the India sample was upper and middle SECs only. For more information, please contact: Kiley Turner Editor in Chief Ipsos World Monitor The Global Express Research Methodology The data presented in this alert were collected on Global Express in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. between the dates of August 30 and October 5, 2003. Sample in six countries was national; and in Brazil, China, Indian and Russia, it was urban-only, with only the upper and middle socioeconomic classes (SECs) included in the urban Indian sample. Telephone interviewing was used for the national samples, and in-person interviewing was used for the urban samples. Global Express involves sample sizes of 500 in each overseas market and 1,000 in the United States. For samples of 500, the margin of error is within 177 4 percentage points, and for samples of 1,000, it is within 177 3 percentage points. Note: Brazil, China, and Russia data represent urban-only samples. India data represent urban-only and mid/upper SECs only sample. For more information on the survey methodology used for the Ipsos Global Express polling program, please contact Global Express Director, Rob Breitkreuz.

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