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Climate change and Islamic State seen as world's major threats - survey

by Will Kubzansky | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 2 August 2017 16:16 GMT

People stand on the balcony of a building at a flooded residential colony in Ahmedabad, India, July 29, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave

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People in 13 countries, mainly in Latin America and Africa, identified climate change as the top threat to their country.

By Will Kubzansky

LONDON, Aug 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change is ranked alongside the Islamic State as one of the world's two greatest threats with increasing numbers of people concerned about global warming, according to an international survey by a U.S. think tank.

The Pew Research Center survey of nearly 42,000 people in 38 countries showed the percentage of respondents who believe climate change is a major threat has risen to 61 percent from 54 percent in a similar survey four years ago.

People in 13 countries, mainly in Latin America and Africa, identified climate change as the top threat to their country.

A total of 62 percent of respondents ranked Islamic State as the top threat with people in 18 countries ranking the ultra-radical militant group as the main danger.

"People around the world are generally concerned about climate change," Jacob Poushter, a senior researcher and co-author of the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"They worry about it personally, about the toll on their own personal lives, and they're also concerned about it generally for their own countries."

Cyber attacks, the global economy and refugees from Iraq and Syria were also ranked in the top five global threats.

The survey found Latin Americans most concerned about climate change, with 74 percent of respondents in seven countries seeing climate change as a major threat to them.

Climate change was also ranked as a key concern in Africa where an average of 58 percent of respondents saw it as a major threat.

"One possibility, based on the countries that seem more concerned about climate change, is that those which are less economically developed and don't have capabilities to combat central changes in the climate might be more concerned about climate change," Poushter said.

Other countries were less concerned about climate change, with Russia and Israel at the bottom of the list with 35 and 38 percent of respondents respectively seeing climate change as a major threat.

Every country involved in the survey initially agreed to the Paris climate goals announced in 2015 to limit global warning although U.S. President Donald Trump has since decided to pull out of the pact. (Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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