By Ritvik Dutta
In the wake of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a private research firm called Gallup & Robinson took interest in observing the attitudes of residents around the world. By polling residents from 145 different countries, Gallup reports that the overall satisfaction towards one’s countries efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect the environment has substantially risen. However, this worldwide satisfaction can only be attributed to the efforts of Asian and Sub-Saharan African nations.
In an interview conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor, claimed that reports suggest “Satisfaction levels in the European Union, Latin America, and Northern America, however, continued to falter and move in the opposite direction.” Residents from two of the top five countries in carbon dioxide emissions since 2016, the Russian Federation and the United States, express the most discontent towards their countries’ efforts. Russia leads all countries with a dismal 59% disapproval rating, while the United States follows with a 56% disapproval rating. Ray adds that “throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, and even in the last year of President Barack Obama’s second term, Americans have given U.S. efforts in this arena a relatively poor grade.” The current U.S. president does not believe that climate change is an issue of importance, believing that making amends to reduce carbon output will prove to be a hindrance to economic progress.
The Trump administration has revoked mercury emission regulations, has refused to tighten soot pollution, and has implemented new fuel standards all play a critical part in the disapproval by most residents of the United States. On the contrary, China, the leading carbon dioxide producing country in the world since 2016, has an 85% resident approval rate, having recently pledged to allocate more of their energy as non-fossil fuel energy sources. Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter and in the top 10 for the most carbon dioxide produced since 2016, also has a high resident approval rate at 79%. In 2019, Saudi Arabia introduced regulation on carbon trading, which aimed to reduce local demands for oil. Oddly enough, in March, Russia pledged to reduce carbon output levels, aiming to reduce them to a third of the levels that they were in 1990 by the end of the decade.
The United States and a plethora of other countries are yet to comment on their resident’s approval rates.