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Worries about global warming are growing: survey

By Reuters (Reuters) - June 5, 2007

Worries about global warming have increased around the world this year and many people want more government action to slow climate change, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Sixteen percent of more than 26,000 Internet users in 47 nations surveyed in March said climate change was a “major concern” against just 7 percent in a survey in October, according to the report by the Nielsen Company and Oxford University.

“A lot of things happening together have generated a heightened concern,” Max Boycoff of Oxford University Centre for the Environment told Reuters of the report issued to coincide with the U.N.’s World Environment Day on Tuesday.

He said U.N. reports blaming human emissions from burning fossil fuels for warming that could lead to more heatwaves, desertification, floods and rising sea levels had apparently spurred concerns and far more media coverage.

And freak warm weather in some regions had also probably contributed, as had a documentary by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore about the risks of warming.

In the survey, about 40 percent of those expressing concern wanted governments to restrict companies’ emissions of greenhouse gases and wanted more investment in low-emission cars, houses and renewable energy.

Thirty-one percent thought people should recycle more. But only 3 percent said people should reduce air travel.

People in Switzerland, France, Australia and Canada were most worried about climate change, with more than 30 percent rating it among their top two concerns alongside issues such as the economy, health and job security.

The Group of Eight industrialized nations will meet in Germany for a summit from June 6-8. Among G8 nations, people in Russia and the United States were least concerned by warming.