Perceptions of climate change worldwide

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Abstract

We begin this review with a brief overview of the first published comparative national studies on public attitudes and climate change. We continue by exploring key findings from more recent surveys from three major studies conducted in late 2009. These results are organized into two major sections—the first in reviewing established ground or questions commonly asked of the general public regarding climate change. These questions include willingness to pay to protect the environment, global warming as a serious problem, and willingness to pay to address climate change. The second section continues the review by exploring questions that have been seldom asked or new ground. We look at such topics as—the perceived effects of climate change; when respondents think climate change will be felt; their view of what climate scientists think, and whether they feel their government is doing enough to address the issue. We end this section by reviewing two questions that focus on international relations and the global climate change negotiations—the public's perception of their government's efforts at international cooperation, and which country is most trusted by the public to lead the climate change negotiations. The review concludes with discussions on data limitations and some summary thoughts and future research needs. WIREs Clim Change 2011, 2:871–885. doi: 10.1002/wcc.146

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