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69% of the world would give up 1% of their salary to curb climate change

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The era of “global boiling” is here, with United Nations scientists warning that drastic steps are needed to prevent climate change catastrophe. But reversing the terrifying trend isn’t going to be cheap.

The World Bank estimates that $90 trillion will need to be spent on sustainable infrastructure alone by 2030.

While you’d assume that most people expect governments—along with the corporate giants raking billions in profit while polluting the planet—to bear these costs, the majority of the world’s population would actually sacrifice a portion of their paycheck to help the cause.

A groundbreaking global study involving 130,000 participants has found that an astounding 69% would forfeit 1% of their income to combat climate change.

However, this isn’t the case in the States

The researchers, from the University of Bonn, the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE in Frankfurt and the University of Copenhagen interviewed individuals in 125 countries—and in all but 11 countries, the majority of people would give up a chunk of their income to fight global warming.

In the U.S., just 48% of people would be willing to contribute. In comparison, over 90% of the people of Myanmar and Uzbekistan would support climate solutions—despite earning significantly less.

Generally, the researchers discovered that the richer and colder a country is, the less willing its citizens would be to personally pay up in the fight to stop global warming.

American’s willingness to contribute is the ninth lowest in the world, with Brits, Canadians, Russians and New Zealanders also among the least willing to help. 

“Richer countries are still strongly dependent on fossil fuels,” Professor Teodora Boneva, a Research Associate University of Bonn, explained to the Daily Mail. ‘The adaptation costs could therefore be perceived as relatively high and the required lifestyle changes as too drastic.”

In the U.S., for example, 81% of the nation’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, America’s oil and gas industry supports over 10 million jobs and contributes to around 8% of the country’s GDP.

What’s more, wealthier economies have more money to splash out on sustainable adaptations and shelter their citizens from feeling the full effects of climate change, which could be diminishing people’s sense of urgency to pitch in. 

‘The most direct and immediate consequences are likely to be concentrated in more vulnerable countries, which have fewer resources to mitigate the negative consequences of the climate crisis,” Professor Boneva added.

The study also found that colder countries were less willing to foot the bill for climate change interventions, further suggesting that willingness to help is influenced by how immediate its consequences seem.

The countries least willing to contribute to curbing global warming 

1. Egypt – 30.5%
2. Israel – 37.3%
3. Lithuania – 40.6% 
4. Russia – 41.0% 
5. Kazakhstan – 45.0%
6. New Zealand – 46.4% 
7. Pakistan – 47.4% 
8. United Kingdom – 47.6% 
9. United States – 48.1% 
10. Canada – 48.7%

The countries most willing to contribute to personally support global warming 

1. Myanmar – 92.8%
2. Uzbekistan – 91.6%
3. Mongolia – 89.6%
4. Cambodia – 87.4%
5. Mali – 85.9%
6. Paraguay – 85.8%
7. Laos – 85.3%
8. Mauritius – 85.1%
9. Venezuela – 85.0%
10. Bolivia – 84.6%

Stop pointing the other finger

Overall, the survey found 86% of people globally advocate for “pro-climate social norms” and think that people in their country should step up against global warming—but they’re simultaneously skeptical about how much others are really doing to pitch in.

It’s why pointing the finger and saying that the buck ends with someone else could do more harm than good.

“Systematic misperceptions about other people’s willingness to take action against climate change can be an obstacle to the successful fight against climate change,” the study’s co-author Armin Falk wrote in the report. “People who systematically underestimate public support for climate action are often less willing to take action themselves.”

Ultimately, when people feel like those around them aren’t actually doing anything to stop global warming but blame the government, then they are more likely to wonder why they should bother.

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