Climate change barely bothers wealthy, polluting nations: study

Another study ties cavalier attitudes about global warming to national wealth and carbon pollution.

Elsa Wenzel

The bigger a nation's wealth and carbon footprint, the less its residents care about global warming. That's according to an online survey of 46 countries on every continent by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The prosperous Dutch appeared the least worried about the prospect of future rising oceans and wild card weather, even though half of the Netherlands lies one meter below sea level. The next least concerned were people in Russia, the United States, Latvia, and Estonia.

"If you take global warming to heart, you understand that you have to sacrifice something," study author Hanno Sandvik said in a statement. "And the richer you are, the less willing you are to sacrifice. It's far more pleasant to decide that you actually don't quite believe in the climate threat."

The report ranked nations with the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions as the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Estonia. The least concerned nations with the most carbon pollution as well as wealth were Norway, the United States, Ireland, Denmark, and Canada.

However, Americans are the world's least "green" consumers, according to a report released last week by National Geographic and GlobeScan.

The journal Climatic Change, edited at Stanford University, is publishing the Norwegian study.