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article imageOp-Ed: 84 percent of globe believes climate change is catastrophic risk

By Karen Graham     May 25, 2017 in Politics
A newly released global catastrophic risk survey released on Wednesday found that the majority of people in eight countries see climate change as a bigger threat than weapons of mass destruction, artificial intelligence, and other issues.
The annual poll, commissioned by the Global Challenges Foundation, found that nearly 9 out of 10 people around the world are willing to make changes to their standard of living if it would help to prevent further catastrophic climate change.
The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries – the United States, China, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany – found that 84 percent of people now consider climate change a "global catastrophic risk."
The results of the survey put climate change right up there with the threat of large-scale environmental damage and the threat of politically motivated violence escalating into war, according to the poll.
The plan by Washington and Seoul to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system i...
The plan by Washington and Seoul to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is in response to threats from nuclear-armed North Korea has angered Beijing
Ben Listerman, DoD/AFP/File
Mats Andersson, the vice chairman of the Stockholm-based foundation, in a telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, called the results "Stunning," adding that on climate and environmental issues, "there's certainly a huge gap between what people expect from politicians and what politicians are doing."
And here's what was really surprising - Almost 70 percent of those polled said they were in favor of a global organization being created that would deal with specific worldwide risks like climate change, along with the power to enforce its decisions. And almost 60 percent said they were willing for their country to give up a little of its sovereignty to make that happen.
"Whether it's the spectre of nuclear conflict over North Korea or the planet tipping into catastrophic climate change, the need for effective global cooperation has never been greater," Andersson said.
Flood water inundates roads following severe thunderstorms with destructive wind gusts of up to 140 ...
Flood water inundates roads following severe thunderstorms with destructive wind gusts of up to 140 kilometres per hour on the outskirts of Adelaide
What is the Global Challenge Foundation?
The Global Challenges Foundation was created in 2012 by Swedish risk specialist and philanthropist, Laszlo Szombatfalvy. And Mr. Szombatfalvy has some intriguing and totally sensible reasons for not only why he started it but why the global community should be responding to many of the climate risks we have today.
As he points out, not only do each and every one of us live in a "national community," but we also live in a "global community." Gone are the days when something going on in one country would have little or no impact on another country. We are seeing this new global impact with climate change and environmental issues.
Human activities such as burning coal and oil inject additional CO2 into the atmosphere  which acts ...
Human activities such as burning coal and oil inject additional CO2 into the atmosphere, which acts as an extra blanket to trap solar radiation, worsening the "greenhouse effect"
Mujahid Safodien, AFP/File
Take greenhouse gas emissions - These emissions in one country impact the whole of the global community. However, Szombatfalvy believes that technological developments, along with a rising world population have happened so fast recently, that the global political system has not had sufficient time to adjust.
"We are trying to solve the problems of today with the tools of yesterday: multilateral negotiations. The result is that the actions taken are inadequate or too late, and this leads to increased risks of global catastrophe," writes Szombatfalvy.
One person can put us one step closer to disaster
The poll comes out as President Donald Trump prepares for his trip to Italy for his first conference with the Group of 7 (G7), where discussions on inequality and the environment will be the main focus. Trump is expected to make his decision on whether the U.S. will stay in the 2015 Paris Climate agreement or not during or after the meeting.
The White House  lead by US President Donald Trump  doubts the reality of climate change  and has so...
The White House, lead by US President Donald Trump, doubts the reality of climate change, and has so far not ruled out exiting the Paris Agreement, urgently negotiated in 2015 to reduce countries' greenhouse gas emissions
And Trump is the one person who could cripple any efforts on a global scale to mitigate climate change, especially with his seemingly single-minded desire to obliterate the environmental and climate change regulations enacted by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
And even though President Trump continues to say his reasons behind dismantling environmental regulations, climate science and other science-related rules are "making America great again," his reasoning could be likened to the one weedy and trash-strewn yard in a residential neighborhood that drags down the property values of the rest of the community.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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