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Climate change: Who cares, and whose problem is it? Spanish public responds
Monday, June 6, 2022 @ 1:28 PM

YOUNGER adults are less concerned about climate change than older adults, and people in Spain are more likely to say they are feeling the effects of global warming than anywhere else in Europe, making them more conscious of taking action to prevent its worsening.

The latest survey by the DYM Institute found that 85% of respondents in Spain consider climate change to be 'a serious threat to humanity' – a figure that rises to 88% in the over-55s and 90% in the over-65s.

Although 78% of adults under 25 believe climate change to be a grave issue, concerns are higher still for the over-65s - as many as 90% think global warming is a serious threat to the human race (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Women are also more likely to be concerned than men, the research found. 

Those aged 25 to 34 are more concerned than they were two years ago – up from 81% to 86% - as are those aged from 35 to 44, albeit with a marginally smaller increase, from 82% to 84%.

By contrast, 78% of the 18-24 age group believe global warming to be a major worry.

Across the board, 81% believe natural disasters reported worldwide, such as storms and floods, to be a consequence of climate change.


Not too late, but the onus is on the individual

Despite acknowledging global warming to be a serious issue, Spanish respondents are generally optimistic about the long-term situation – older adults more so than younger adults.

Overall, 61% do not believe it is too late to halt the process or slow it down significantly – among the over-65s, this rises to 71%, whilst just over half of respondents aged from 25 to 34 held this view, and only 44% of the 18-24 group believed concerted efforts all round could avert a climate disaster.

Concerning who is responsible for taking action to slow down climate change, older adults placed the onus more on the individual, whilst younger adults believed governments should be taking the most action.

Over 80% of those aged 45 or more believed that personal behaviour was key in the battle against global warming, compared with only two-thirds of adults aged under 25.

More than eight in 10 Spanish respondents aged 45 and over believe the individual has a key rôle to play in slowing or halting climate change. Apparently insignificant actions such as recycling plastic and other waste create major impact if everyone does it (photo: Ecoembes)

Despite this, it was the youngest age group which admitted it would be more willing to pay higher prices for 'eco-friendly' goods – 68% would shell out more if they knew a product was healthier for the planet, or would not mind prices in general going up in order to adopt 'greener' practices.

Those aged from 55 to 64 inclusive were less inclined to want to pay more – only 51% said they would – and among the over-65s, a total of 59% would be willing to spend more if it meant they were getting 'eco-friendly' products.

Of those interviewed in Spain, 81% believe natural disasters - like the unprecedented floods in Germany last year shown here - are the result of climate change

Perhaps the greater reluctance among older adults is because they believe that 'eco-friendly' should be the norm, or the only permitted practices; or perhaps they suspected that if 'greener' goods carried a higher price tag, it would act as a deterrent and lead to less-environmentally health products becoming the most popular.

In the past two years, the number of respondents who think it is too late to stop or slow down the process of climate change has risen from 28% to 35%, but the number who believe it is up to the individual to take action to address the problem has fallen from 86% to 81%.

The remainder believe governments and companies should be the ones to halt global warming.



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