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New Survey Shows More People Are Not Concerned About Climate Change

Deutsche Welle Director General Erik Bettermann, 21 Jun 2010

A new survey shows that more people think climate change is nothing to worry about. Researchers who released the survey are meeting in the German city of Bonn to try to explain to the world the problems that global warming may cause.

A recent international survey by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and marketing research firm Synovate found that almost one-in-ten respondents declared they are "not at all concerned" by climate change. That was double the figure for the previous survey conducted in 2008.

At a global forum in Bonn, which opened Monday, Deutsche Welle Director General Erik Bettermann appealed to the international media not to focus on what he called "sensational" views of people who deny the climate is changing or who predict the phenomenon will lead to an impending disaster.

He also said the survey shows many people do not fully understand the dangers of climate change.

It found that 31 percent of respondents believed the biggest danger is extreme weather, while 10 percent or fewer said their top concern was desertification, drought, spread of disease and flooding.

"Climate change is a broader understanding than only the weather, you can say, this year I feel well, and next year it's too warm or too cold - no! Climate change is also [about] how we use our resources of this world," said Bettermann.

Those resources include fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, which many scientists say produce gases that contribute to global warming.

Swiss adventurer and balloonist Bertrand Piccard is staging a campaign to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels. He told the forum that he plans to fly a small plane around the world using only solar power.

Swiss adventurer and aviator Bertrand Piccard speaking at the World Conference Center, Bonn, Germany, 21 Jun 2010
Swiss adventurer and aviator Bertrand Piccard speaking at the World Conference Center, Bonn, Germany, 21 Jun 2010

"If you can fly around the world with no fuel in an airplane, even if it is just with one pilot on board, of course people on the ground can use the same technologies for their cars, for their heating systems, for the air conditioning, for their computer and so on," said Piccard. "And save energy and save money."

He says he hopes his Solar Impulse project will persuade people that fighting climate change is both possible and profitable.

The authors of the climate change survey questioned 13,000 people from 18 countries from February to April. The countries included the United States, Brazil, China, France, Germany and South Africa.