Europeans still see climate change as top threat amid COVID-19 crisis

Photo by Callum Shaw.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many Europeans still saw climate change as the greatest threat to their countries, according to a Pew Research Center study, with women and the left more likely to be worried than their counterparts. 

Climate change surpassed or tied infectious disease as the most frequently mentioned “major threat” in eight of 14 countries polled by Pew, including seven of the nine European countries surveyed. 

Pew said in a statement: “The share who see global warming as a major threat is significantly higher today in nine of the 10 countries the Center has tracked over the past seven years.

“For instance, in the UK, 71% now say global climate change is a major threat, compared with 48% when the question was first asked in 2013 – an increase of 23 percentage points.”

Recently, however, worries over climate change in the UK and other countries tracked have changed little since 2018, Pew added.

Venice. Photo by Anastasia Dulgier 

Women tend to be more concerned about most of the threats cited in the survey, especially climate change and terrorism. But they were also concerned about the spread of infectious disease and global poverty.

In terms of ideological beliefs, the left tend to be more worried about climate change than those on the right. The right-leaning respondents indicated concern over terrorism and large-scale migration.

Concern about climate change is especially high in Spain, France, Italy, South Korea and Japan, according to the Center.

People in Australia and Denmark named “cyberattacks” as the top threat. Meanwhile, the United States and four other countries said “the spread of disease” is the foremost threat, according to the results. 

Pew Research Center surveyed adults via telephone from June 10 to Aug. 3, 2020, in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.