Climate Change, Terrorism, Seen as Major Global Threats

Climate change is now tied with the Islamic State as the most-feared security threat across much of the world. In the United States, cyberattacks are considered a greater danger than global warming, according to a Pew Research Center report that was recently released. Residents of 13 countries ranked climate change as the greatest threat to national security, while in 17 countries the Islamic State was considered a more immediate problem.

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American “fact tank”, which is based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world. It also conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research.

In the United States, a massive partisan divide pushed climate change to third-most severe perceived threat, after ISIS and cyberwarfare. Just 56 percent of Americans surveyed identified global warming as the most serious threat to the country, compared to 71 percent for cyberwarfare and 74 percent for Islamic State attacks. The American intelligence community concluded that Russia used cyber weapons to interfere with the presidential election last year, perhaps accounting for the heightened sense of threat. The Trump administration has consistently played down the dangers of a warming climate and has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change signed by nearly 200 nations.

As a nation, Russia is among the least concerned countries about global warming. The Russian heat wave of 2010 was made three times more likely by climate change, but Russians are generally apathetic about rising greenhouse gas emissions. The country backed the Paris Agreement but the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, did not denounce President Trump for abandoning the accord, as so many other world leaders did. Russia ranked climate change fifth among its global concerns, below the Islamic State, the economy, the refugee crisis, and the influence of the United States.

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