Europeans Expect to Feel Warming's Impact in Their Lifetimes
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Europeans Expect to Feel Warming's Impact in Their Lifetimes

The latest Financial Times/Harris Poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Europeans (86 percent) among the five countries surveyed think that the activities of human beings are contributing to an increase in global temperatures.

Paul Holmes

The latest Financial Times/Harris Poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Europeans (86 percent) among the five countries surveyed think that the activities of human beings are contributing to an increase in global temperatures.

Germans are most likely to agree with this belief (92 percent) while the British are least likely to agree (77 percent). Among the 86 percent who believe this, Europeans are more likely to characterize the increase in global temperatures as substantial (59 percent) rather than moderate (32 percent) or slight (10 percent).

Almost half (45 percent) of Europeans think that global warming will present a threat to them and their families within their lifetimes, while a substantial percentage (25 percent) are not sure.

Moreover, a majority of Europeans overall support restrictions placed on their behaviors or purchases in order to reduce the threat of global warming (68 percent), while relatively few neither support nor oppose (20 percent) or oppose (12 percent) restrictions. The French, Spanish, and Germans are most likely to support these restrictions (73 percent, 70 percent, and 72 percent respectively). By contrast, the British are the most likely to oppose these restrictions (21 percent).

Over half of Europeans (56 percent) state that they would be willing to pay some additional taxes or higher prices to eliminate the threat of global warming, but only one quarter (25 percent) would be willing to pay the equivalent of an average week’s wages or more. In contrast, 31 percent state that they would be willing to pay less than an average week’s wages, and fully one third (33 percent) state that they would not be willing to pay anything at all.

Despite concern over global climate change, however, more Europeans oppose (46 percent) the building of new nuclear power stations in their countries than support (30 percent) or neither support nor oppose (24 percent). Italians are most likely to support the building of new nuclear power stations in their country (42 percent) while the Spanish are most likely to oppose this idea (62 percent).

But most Europeans (85 percent) believe that the government of their countries should increase investment in renewable energy, with the French and the Spanish being most likely to support doing so (92 percent and 91 percent respectively). Europeans are more likely to believe that their government should decrease its investment in nuclear power (39 percent) than believe it should stay on its current path (23 percent) or increase its investment (26 percent).

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