November 12th, 2009 10:00 EST
World Public Gives China, US Low Marks on Climate Change
With President Barack Obama on his way to meet his Chinese counterpart in Beijing for talks on global climate change and a range of other issues, a poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org shows that publics in more than half of 20 nations disapprove of the way China and the United States are dealing with global warming.
The poll asked respondents to grade China and the US on several dimensions. China gets poor marks for how it handles human rights--on average 52% say China does not respect human rights while just 36% say it does. The US does better, with 50% saying it is respectful and 38% it is not.
People around the world regard both superpowers as cooperative, but they also see both countries, especially the US, as using the threat of military force to coerce other nations.
Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are expected to focus on climate change, economic concerns, and nuclear issues related to Iran and North Korea when they meet Nov. 16 and 17. The climate change question is of particular importance in the run-up to December`s conference in Copenhagen, where 192 countries will attempt to conclude a new treaty on climate change. All eyes will be on China, the world`s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, and the United States, which long held that distinction.
The WPO poll, conducted during April and May, finds that people in 11 nations disapprove of how [China] is "dealing with the issue of climate change." Clear majorities in six nations -- France (74%), Britain (73%), Germany (72%), the United States (69%), South Korea (69%), and Egypt (58%) -- are disapproving, along with pluralities is five other nations. Only in Pakistan (93%), Nigeria (69%), Kenya (64%), and Indonesia (55%) do majorities approve.
(Photos: Pete Souza/White House Photo, Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)
Photo: Pete Souza/White House Photo, Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)