Survey suggests Latvians not particularly worried about climate change

Future heat waves and droughts worry Latvian residents the most, according to a Norstat survey commissioned by LSM.LV.

1008 respondents took part in the survey from May 7 to 16.

When asked "Thinking about the future weather conditions in Latvia due to climate change, what do you think is the most dangerous?", 22% of respondents chose the answer "heat waves and droughts".

18% responded that future climate disasters do not seem more dangerous than the current ones. The same number believe that severe storms are the most dangerous weather event that climate change will contribute to. 

The large hailstorms experienced several times in recent summers must have led some respondents to choose hailstorms as the most dangerous weather phenomenon, 12%, while people are least worried – 6% – about warmer winters.

A further 11% did not have an answer, which goes some way to indicating the irrelevance of the issue to people's daily lives. Combine this with the 18% of respondents who do not consider future weather events caused by climate change to be more dangerous than existing ones, and you have around a third of the public who are neither worried nor concerned about climate change. This is broadly in line with several surveys conducted in recent years, which show that around a third of the Latvian population does not consider climate change to be a major issue.

The survey commissioned by also highlights another nuance. Indifference to climate change increases with age. In the 18-29 age group, only 17% of respondents answered that future weather conditions caused by climate change do not seem more dangerous than current ones or did not answer the question at all. In the 60-74 age group, the proportion is more than twice as high at 39%.

Last year, the Green Barometer initiative of environmental organizations found that around 25% of people in Latvia have the potential to oppose any climate change mitigation policy.

A similar trend was also found in a 2021 survey by Riga Stradiņš University, where 83% of respondents indicated that climate change is a serious problem worldwide, but only 53% agreed that it is a problem in Latvia, and almost twice as many - 27% - consider it a serious problem for themselves or their family.

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