Climate change is biggest threat to earth, international poll finds

A median of 75% across all 19 nationalities that participated in the poll views the climate crisis as a major threat.

 Activists symbolically set George Square on fire with an art installation of faux flames and smoke ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain October 28, 2021.  (photo credit: REUTERS/RUSSELL CHEYNE)
Activists symbolically set George Square on fire with an art installation of faux flames and smoke ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain October 28, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/RUSSELL CHEYNE)

Climate change is the biggest and most pertinent threat to humanity, citizens from 19 developed countries believe, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday.

The poll asked 24,525 adults from 19 nations in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region what is the biggest threat currently posing on our planet.

A median of 75% across all the nationalities that participated in the poll views the climate crisis as a major threat. In 10 nations, it is viewed as the top threat, with concern reaching an all-time high.

Following global warming, another issue considered an international threat is the spread of disinformation online, with 70% believing it to be a major threat. Other major threats, according to the poll, include cyberattacks, fluctuations in the global economy and the spread of infectious disease such as COVID-19.

Concern over infectious diseases dropped universally over the past year the poll found, with a notable decrease of 10-20% in those who consider pandemics to be a major threat recorded in the US, UK, Sweden, Canada and South Korea.

Thousands of Israeli youth protesting the climate crisis in Tel Aviv, March 19, 2021.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)Thousands of Israeli youth protesting the climate crisis in Tel Aviv, March 19, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

What about Israel? 

The results of Pew's poll in Israel, however, are drastically different from the rest of the world.

According to the poll, only 47% of Israelis see global warming as a major threat to their country, the second-lowest of any nationality group participating in the poll after Malaysia.

To emphasize the point, Malaysia and Israel are the only two nations in which most of their citizens are not wary of the climate crisis, according to the poll.

Instead, Israeli appear to be more concerned with cyberattacks from other countries and infectious diseases. 

The fear of cyberattacks has risen in Israel dramatically over the past four years. Only 42% of Israelis saw cyber warfare as a true threat in a 2018 Pew poll, compared to 64% in this term. This represents a 26% rise, the highest of any nation in Pew's research.