Stockholm – The decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change comes as a ComRes opinion survey shows a majority of Americans consider climate change a ‘global catastrophic risk’ - and that they want more – not less – global co-operation to tackle global risks.

The eight country survey was commissioned last month by the Global Challenges Foundation in Stockholm.  It found that:

  • Almost three quarters of Americans (74%) consider climate change a global catastrophic risk, i.e. a risk that can impact at least ten per cent of the world population. 
  • This compares with more than eight in ten people (84%) globally, ranging from a high of 91% of people in Brazil and South Africa to lows of 75% in Australia and 74% in the US.
  • An overwhelming majority of those surveyed by ComRes (88% globally, 84% of Americans) said they would be prepared to make changes that would impact their current living standards if it would prevent future climate catastrophes. 
  • In apparent contradiction to the global trend towards insular nationalism, nearly three quarters (71%) of those surveyed said they thought a new supranational organization should be created to make enforceable decisions to address global risks.
  • In the United States, support for this kind of organisation has risen from 49% to 67% since 2014 when a similar survey was conducted.

Mats Andersson, Vice Chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation said:

“The fact that climate change features in the public mind alongside weapons of mass destruction and political conflict shows that people in the United States as well as elsewhere want an urgent response from their leaders to tackle global warming and stop it tipping over into catastrophic levels.  

“The decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement represents a fundamental misunderstanding of where the US public are now on climate change and how seriously they regard the risk.

 “Something has shifted in the past couple of years with people waking up to the realities of climate change. Political leaders should realise they have a strong mandate to act and that their actions now can shape our future for the next 10,000 years and beyond.”

 The ComRes survey was released along with the Global Challenges Foundation’s Annual Report, Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 which includes sections on climate change.

Notes to editors:

For more information and interviews please contact:  Helen Palmer, Weber Shandwick on +44(0)7912 242394 or [email protected]

Background on the ComRes survey

An online survey of 8,101 adults aged between 18 and 64 was conducted across: Australia (1,000), Brazil (1,018), China (1,031), Germany (1,001), India (1,013), South Africa (1,038), the United Kingdom (1,000) and the United States (1,000) between 27 April and 10 May 2017. The data were weighted to be nationally representative of the population in each of the country by age, gender and region. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com

Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape

The Global Challenges Foundation is calling for new thinking around how global catastrophic risks are managed by the international community.  The US$5million Global Challenges Prize 2017 – A New Shape is an open competition, seeking ideas for new models of global governance capable of tackling serious global risks. It is open for entries until September 30, 2017. So far the prize competition has received 11,593 registrations of interest from 183 countries and 200 submitted entries from 60 countries.