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Focus On: Fossil fuel dependency and perceptions of climate change

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A lone firefighter seen with a hose, firing water towards burning trees.

This short report is the third of our ‘Focus On’ series, and explores how and why the perceived threat of climate change varies widely between and within countries.

Global perceptions of climate change

Climate change poses a dire and imminent threat to our planet and future generations. The consequences of unchecked global warming are already becoming increasingly evident, with rising sea levels threatening coastal communities, extreme weather events wreaking havoc, and ecosystems collapsing at an alarming rate. The risk of climate change extends far beyond environmental concerns; it threatens human health, food security, and economic stability on a global scale.

However, public perception of the threat that climate change represents varies widely. The 2021 Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll is a unique global dataset covering 121 countries and interviewing over 125,000 people including regions, countries and people whose attitudes are often overlooked. It is therefore the ideal tool to understand how and why people’s perceptions of climate change varies between and also, importantly, within countries.

Key findings

  • Globally, 41% of respondents said climate change is a 'very serious threat', increasing to 67% when including those who view it as a 'somewhat serious threat'. However, only 3% named climate change as the greatest source of risk to their personal safety.
  • In countries like Saudi Arabia where fossil fuels account for 100% of primary energy and a large percentage of exports, only 8% viewed climate change as a 'very serious threat'. Other major fossil fuel producers like Russia (25%), Kazakhstan (18%), and Mongolia (21%) also had low percentages viewing climate change as very serious.
  • Within countries, there are regional differences linked to fossil fuel production areas. For example, in oil/gas regions of Norway like Western Norway (40%) and Northern Norway (31%), concern about climate change was lower than the national average of 45%.

Download the report

Focus on: Fossil fuel dependency and perceptions of climate change

This short report is the third of our ‘Focus On’ series, and explores how and why the perceived threat of climate change varies widely between and within countries. (PDF, 6.54MB)