Global warming worries Indians

Doha (Qatar), Dec. 2: The majority of people in India, China and America believe their governments "should be doing more" to address global warming and climate change, says a study released today.

About 54 per cent Indians want their government to be more proactive on climate, while the figure is nearly 90 per cent for China and the US.

The Indian part of the study, "Climate Change in the Indian Mind", was done jointly by Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University and Jagadish Thaker of George Mason University. Its foreword has been written by Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"We worked with a sample of around 4,000 (people) in (November-December) 2011 and the findings are quite interesting," Thaker said on the sidelines of the meeting.

"While 41 per cent of the respondents had never heard the term 'climate change'; they seemed quiet familiar with its impacts," he said.

"More than two-thirds said that events like severe droughts or floods often affected their regular livelihoods and most of them said it took their households several months or years to recover. At least one in every two confided that they themselves had directly experienced the brunt of climate change."

After the concept of global warming was explained to those unfamiliar with the term, 54 per cent said India should make a "large or moderate-scale effort to reduce global warming" even if that caused some economic loss, the report says.

Large parts of India, including metros such as Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai, are said to be seriously vulnerable to extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The survey has thrown up the finding that people tend to trust scientists most about climate change (73 per cent), followed by the news media (69 per cent) and environmental organisations (68 per cent). Hardly 50 per cent rely on what the government says.

"It's a direct reflection of our government's policy on climate change. Although a climate action plan was announced about four years back, a recent IIT study proved that five of the missions had hardly got off to a start," Thaker said.

"It's bizarre that Indian politicians have hardly said anything about climate change's impact on agriculture despite India being an agrarian country," added another scientist.