US, China least concerned about climate change: Poll

A herder leads sheep past a coal fired power plant in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China.
A herder leads sheep past a coal fired power plant in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China.BLOOMBERG

MIAMI (AFP) - China and the United States are the world's biggest polluters, but their residents are among the least concerned in the world about the harms of climate change, a global poll found Thursday.

Just 18 per cent of those surveyed in China said climate change is a very serious problem, and 15 per cent were very concerned that climate change would harm them personally, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the United States, 45 per cent said climate change was very serious, and one in three expressed concern about personal harm as a result.

In contrast, the consensus globally is that climate change is a pressing problem, particularly ahead of key climate talks in Paris this year.

"Majorities in all 40 nations polled say it is a serious problem, and a global median of 54 per cent consider it a very serious problem," said the findings.

"Moreover, a median of 78 per cent support the idea of their country limiting greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international agreement in Paris."

The survey was taken from March to May, and is based on 45,435 face-to-face and telephone interviews in 40 countries with adults.