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8 in 10 consider climate change a catastrophic risk: Survey

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LONDON: Eight in 10 people said they were ready to make changes that will affect their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats showed yesterday.

The survey of more than 8,000 people in the US, China, India, UK, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany found that 84 per cent of people now consider climate change a "global catastrophic risk", according to the Global Challenges Foundation's Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report.

On environmental issues, "there's a huge gap between what people expect from politicians and what politicians are doing," said Mr Mats Andersson, vice-chairman of the Stockholm-based foundation.

The survey, released before this week's G7 summit of advanced economies in Italy, also found that 85 per cent of people think the United Nations needs reforms to be better equipped to address global threats.

After the G7 meeting, US President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on pulling the US out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. But 84 per cent of the Americans said they would be prepared to make changes in their way of life if it would prevent climate catastrophes.

Nearly two in three Americans also agreed with the statement that "a single individual can negatively impact global cooperation on risks". Respondents in other parts of the world - apart from South Africa - were less likely to agree.

That environmental issues and climate change now rank near the top of global worries about catastrophic threats for many people suggests that "something has shifted in the past couple of years", Mr Andersson said. - REUTERS