Norway is one of the world’s richest countries – and the fifth worst in Europe for CO2 emissions in relation to its population. At the same time, Norwegians are amongst the least worried about the consequences of climate change.
It’s the same across the globe: the level of concern in a country’s population is precisely correlated with two things: that country’s gross national project (GNP) and the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The more a country has of both, the less worried its population is about the consequences of global warming, according to a global study conducted by Hanno Sandvik, a postdoc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.
Dutch are least worried
Sandvik used the results from an electronic survey that was conducted in 46 countries as the basis for his work. The survey encompassed countries from every inhabited continent and with different economies – aside from poor developing lands where an internet-based survey wouldn’t work.
The survey showed that the world’s least climate-worried population lives in the country that will be the first to notice that sea level is rising – the Netherlands. Next in line were Russia, the USA, Latvia and Estonia. In Western Europe, the carefree Dutch were followed by the similarly unworried Danes, Belgians, Norwegians and Finns.
Most of these people have access to all the information they could possibly want – and then some. Why the lack of concern about climate change?
Other researchers have looked for explanatory reasons and variables that are inherent in the country itself: gender, age, education level, family income, political views and so forth. Sandvik is the first who has looked for explanations at the national level.
“People are all too willing to repress unpleasant truths, particularly if one is responsible for something that’s not good. I had a theory that the countries that contribute the most to global warming might perhaps have a population that would rather not believe so much in the dangers from climate change,” Sandvik says.
When Sandvik compared data on level of concern to data on emissions, he found support for his theory: the more responsibility a country had for causing global warming, the greater the tendency of its citizens to explain away or ignore the problem. And as a country’s emissions levels increased, the level of concern sank even further.
The biggest emissions bad boys in the world, by population, are the United Arab Emirates, the USA, Canada, Australia and Estonia. In Western Europe, Finland is the worst, followed by Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and Norway. All of these countries scored conspicuously high when it came to lack of concern.
The rich would rather not share
The most striking connection came when Sandvik compared the level of worry data to the GNP for the 46 countries: the richer the land, the less worried its population.
The five richest countries in the dataset were Norway, the United States, Ireland, Denmark and Canada. All of these countries are also considered to be among the worst in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. That consequently doubles the fertile ground for the lack of worry. Researchers were not particularly surprised by the findings. All “idealism research” shows that those who are most well off are always the least willing to contribute.
“If you take global warming to heart, you understand that you have to sacrifice something. And the richer you are, the less willing you are to sacrifice. It’s far more pleasant to decide that you actually don’t quite believe in the climate threat”, Sandvik says.
The study is being published in the journal Climatic Change.
By Lisa Olstad
Nina Tveter | alfa
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy