Climate Change Study Shows People are More Willing to Change Personal Habits

In the first half of 2021, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of approximately 18,000 adults in 17 countries across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. The survey aimed to measure the level of concern about global climate change.

The survey revealed that an increasing number of people in these economies express concern about the impacts of climate change. Additionally, the majority of the respondents expressed their willingness to change their lifestyles and work habits to lessen the impact of climate change.

People are willing to modify their lifestyles and work to mitigate climate change

According to the survey, a median of 80% of individuals across the 17 nations expressed their willingness to make some changes to their lifestyle and work habits to combat climate change.

In contrast, 19% stated that they would make minimal or no changes to alleviate the impacts of global climate change. A median of 34% of respondents from the 17 nations indicated their readiness to make a lot of changes in response to the climate crisis.

The survey revealed that the willingness to make these changes depends on several factors:

Political inclination

In the U.S., citizens on the left of the political spectrum show more willingness to modify their personal and work lifestyles to help reduce the effects of climate change compared to those on the ideological right (94% vs. 45%). Although the polarization is not significant in other countries surveyed, a disparity between liberals and conservatives also exists in Canada (a difference of 26 percentage points), the Netherlands (25 points), Australia (23 points), and Germany (22 points).

Age

Young adults, aged 18-29, exhibit greater concern about the impact of climate change compared to those aged 65 or older. This concern motivates them to be more likely to modify their lifestyle and work habits. For example, in France, 90% of individuals under 30 express their willingness to make changes, while the same is true for only 62% of those aged 65 and older.

Education

In Belgium, one of the surveyed countries, individuals with a postsecondary degree or higher show a 14-point greater likelihood of making changes to the way they live compared to those with secondary education or below. This trend is also observed in other countries such as France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Income

The survey showed that in most of the 17 countries studied, individuals with incomes higher than the median were more inclined to express a willingness to make changes to mitigate climate change than those with lower incomes. For example, in Belgium, 76% of respondents with higher incomes expressed a willingness to modify their lifestyle, compared to 66% of respondents with lower incomes.

It is encouraging to witness individuals expressing their willingness to adjust their lifestyles and work habits in order to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis. A collaborative effort is essential in constructing a more sustainable future.

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