A new poll has found that South Koreans are more concerned about the personal harm they’ll suffer from climate change than the citizens of any other developed country.
On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center, a US-based think tank and polling organization, published the results of a poll in which it asked citizens in 17 developed countries, including Korea, whether they were concerned about being personally harmed by climate change in their lifetime. The percentage of Koreans who said they were “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” was 88%, the highest of any country in the survey.
The survey, which comprised 18,850 people in 17 developed countries, ran from Feb. 1 to May 26.
Other countries whose citizens expressed a high concern for the personal impact of climate change were Greece (87%), Spain (81%), and Italy (80%). Focusing on the percentage of respondents who said they were “very concerned,” Korea was at 45%, ranking third after Greece (57%) and Spain (46%).
The survey respondents who were least concerned about the personal impact of climate change were Swedes. Respondents who were either “not at all concerned” or “not very concerned” added up to 56% of the total, outnumbering those who felt concerned.
In most countries surveyed, the percentage of respondents who are “very concerned” about the impact of climate change increased from the last survey carried out by the Pew Research Center in 2015. In Germany and the UK, that share nearly doubled from 18% and 19% in the 2015 survey to 37% in this survey.
Curiously, the survey found that the level of concern has decreased in Japan and the US. The percentage of Japanese respondents who feel “very concerned” dropped 8 points, from 34% to 26%, while the percentage of American respondents who feel that way declined 3 points, from 30% to 27%.
Viewed across generations, younger people tended to be more concerned about the impact of climate change than older people, with exceptions in Korea and Greece, where younger people were comparatively less concerned. In Korea, 94% of people aged 65 and above were concerned about the personal impact of climate change, while 79% of people aged 18-29 were concerned — a 15-point difference.
Averaged across all 17 countries, younger people (71%) tended to be more concerned about the issue than older people (52%).
By Kim Jeong-su, senior staff writer
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