GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
PRINCETON, NJ -- The annual summit of industrialized nations gets underway tomorrow in the Baltic Sea resort city of Heiligendamm, Germany. Though diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia have garnered headlines leading up to the event, climate change is expected to be a central issue at the gathering.
A Gallup World Poll finds that Russia is the only G8 member country whose people are more likely to respond negatively than positively to questions about the environment. Only 36% of Russians say they are satisfied with their country's air quality, and 31% say they are satisfied with the quality of the water. Just 15% of Russians say they are satisfied with their country's efforts to preserve the environment. Results from the other G8 countries are very different. Over 70% of Canadians, French, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Britons, and Americans express satisfaction with both air and water quality in their countries. And in none of these other countries is the percentage of those satisfied with efforts to preserve the environment below 38%.
Russia was a key player in ratifying the Kyoto climate protocols in 2004, but some observers believe this was largely due to Putin's desire to join the group of industrialized nations rather than a strong commitment to environmental issues -- a perception that would seem to be supported by the low percentage of Russians satisfied with their country's handling of environmental issues.
Germans on the other hand -- along with Americans and the French -- are among the most likely G8 residents to say they are satisfied with their country's efforts to improve the environment. This year's summit host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has been pushing for the G8 to adopt more concrete measures, such as greater cuts in emissions and agreeing to a plan that would stabilize global temperatures so they would not rise by more than two degrees.
These results are based on interviews conducted in 2005, 2006, and 2007 with randomly selected national samples of 1,000 residents aged 15 and older in each country, with the exception of Russia, where 2,000 residents were interviewed. For results based on the samples of 1,000, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. For results based on the samples of 2,000, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±2 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.