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Latest Pew Survey: Chinese are the most satisfied with country’s direction, but concern about the environment is high. Public concern about climate change low in China and the U.S.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)

A recent survey from the Pew Global Attitudes Project of over 3,000 Chinese people during March and April 2008 showed that, of all nations surveyed, China boasted the highest satisfaction with the “country’s direction” and the “economic situation” in the country.  86% of Chinese people surveyed said they were satisfied with China’s direction.  82% felt the country’s economic situation was good.  In contrast, only 23% of Americans, 41% of Indians and 23% of Japanese felt satisfied with their respective countries’ directions.

Nonetheless, environmental concerns were near the top of the list of problems that Chinese people are concerned about.  74% of Chinese surveyed believed that air pollution is a “very big” or “moderately big” problem.  66% of Chinese surveyed had felt that water pollution was a “very big” or “moderately big” problem.

As many as 80% of Chinese think protecting the environment should be made a priority, even if this results in slower growth and a potential loss of jobs.

For many, protecting the environment is a strongly held view. Nearly one-third (31%) completely agree with prioritizing the environment… [T]he belief that the environment should be a priority varies little across various demographic groups including gender, age, education and income. For example, roughly equal percentages of people with a college (79%), high school (79%) or less than high school (81%) education favor protecting the environment even at the cost of economic growth.

With respect to global warming, however, the people of the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases – the U.S. and China – showed little concern about climate change.  Of all countries surveyed, China had the smallest percentage of people (24%) who believed that global warming is a “serious problem.”  In the U.S., fewer than half (42%) of people surveyed said they believed global warming to be a “serious problem.”  It will continue to be difficult to get these two major nations to move toward a climate change solution when public concern within the countries is so low.

The full Pew Global Report can be found here.

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