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Yale study: 92% Puerto Rico residents say gov’t should prioritize climate change

A study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) conducted with Rare and Data for Good at Meta, found that residents of Puerto Rico (92%) and El Salvador (90%) are most likely “to say that climate change” should be either a “very high” or “high” priority for their respective governments.

The study, “International Public Opinion on Climate Change, 2023” notes that a “majority of respondents in nearly every area are worried about climate change.”

The report explores climate change beliefs, attitudes, policy preferences and behaviors. It surveyed 139,136 monthly active users, aged 18 and over, of Facebook, which is owned by Meta.

“Responses were collected from 187 countries and territories worldwide, including 107 individual countries and territories and three geographic groups comprising 80 additional countries and territories,” according to the report.

“A majority of respondents in nearly every area surveyed (108 out of 110) say they are either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about climate change. More than nine in 10 respondents in South Korea and Puerto Rico (both 93%), Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Ecuador (all 92%), and Portugal, Panama, Colombia, and Uruguay (all 91%) say they are worried,” reads the study. “In contrast, just under half of respondents in the Netherlands (45%) and Yemen (47%) say they are worried about climate change.”

Additionally, in 24 out of 110 surveyed areas, the majority of respondents believe climate change will harm them personally “a great deal.”

“Respondents are the most likely to say climate change will harm them personally ‘a great deal’ in El Salvador (66%) and Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Malawi (all 61%), and the least likely to say so in the Czech Republic and Finland (both 5%), and the Netherlands (7%),” the study adds.

Respondents in Puerto Rico (84%) and Costa Rica (83%) are the most likely to say that climate change will harm future generations “a great deal.”

“This says that the population seems highly attuned to climate change, potentially because of their exposure and experiences with extreme weather that have accumulated over the decades,” said Marija Verner, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of the Environment.

“The second takeaway is that personal experience matters in how people approach these issues, and the third is really underscoring community resilience. Puerto Rico has built pretty strong adaptive capacity and strong support networks,” Verner said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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