Climate change remains the top-most perceived threat for the people of Europe even as they are also anxious about the risks posed by Covid -19, according to a survey by the PEW Research Centre.
Though majority in Europe see climate change as a threat, majority of the people in the 14 countries surveyed see the spread of infectious disease as a major threat to their countries.
The PEW report says that seven-in-ten across the 14 economically advanced countries noted that climate change and the spread of infectious diseases were both major threats. Spain, France, Italy, South Korea and Japan expressed great concern about climate change. Eight out of ten people in these countries said it as a major threat.
In the UK, 71 per cent of people say climate change was a major threat, compared with 48 per cent when the question was first asked in 2013. In all countries surveyed, those on the ideological left are more likely than those on the right to consider global climate change a major threat, the report said. In nine countries, women are more likely than men to see global climate change as a major threat, the PEW Centre said.
The survey was held in US, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
The report points out heightened concern in South Korea and Japan. About nine in ten people considered the infectious diseases as a major threat. About eight-in-ten also hold this opinion in Spain and the U S. The report said that the concern about the spread of the deadly virus did not vary significantly by income or educational attainment in most countries. Women, however, are generally more concerned about the threat of disease than men in most of the countries.
Six in ten or more are concerned about security threat such as terrorism, cyber attacks and spread of nuclear weapons. People in Australia and Denmark put cyber attacks as the preeminent threat.
While 66 per cent of the surveyed people say that terrorism was a major threat to their country, 65 per cent say that cyber attacks posed major threats. With respect to nuclear weapons, 61 per cent raised concern. Almost half or more people in 12 of the 14 countries polled describe terrorism as a major threat, including about three-quarters or more in France (80%), Japan (77%) and Spain (74%).
In the case of Cyber attacks, Australia (70%) and Denmark (66%), raised major threat. It is also the second most common major threat response in South Korea, the US. The Netherlands and Germany.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons often trails terrorism and cyber attacks as a perceived security threat, the report said.
Since 2016, the perception of cyber attacks as a major threat has increased in a number of countries, including Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and Canada.
Broadly speaking, older people across the 14 countries are more concerned by security threats. In the case of terrorism, for instance, a median of 72% among those ages 50 and older say it is a major threat, compared with 53% among those who are 18 to 29. Similar age gaps appear in concerns about cyber attacks and the spread of nuclear weapons.
With respect to economy, South Koreans were the most concerned. About 83 per cent of the people said that global economic situation was facing a major threat. Danes and Swedes were the least concerned.
Overall, 53 per cent of the people surveyed said that global poverty posed a major threat to their country. The French and Spanish show the greatest concern, with about three-quarters in each country describing global poverty as a major threat, the Pew Centre said.
In most countries, not more than half of the people see ethnic or international conflict and large scale migration as a major threat to their country. Majority of the people in South Korea and France only say that long-standing conflicts between countries or ethnic groups constitute a major threat.
The report said that women were more concerned about most of the threats, especially climate change and terrorism.
In most of the countries, those on the political left tend to be more worried about climate change than those on the right, while those on the right voice greater concern over terrorism and large-scale migration.