“Whether it’s the spectre of nuclear conflict over North Korea or our planet tipping into catastrophic climate change, the need for effective global cooperation has never been greater.” In the UK, some 71 per cent ranked the potential use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as one of the main dangers and 80 per cent agreed climate change could turn into a global catastrophe.
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A lower proportion, but still a majority (54 per cent), said they would be happy for the UK to give up some of its sovereignty to address the world’s most serious problems.
The countries most concerned about global insecurity were Brazil (80 per cent), Germany (71 per cent) and South Africa (70 per cent).
“However there is also a non-negligible and less often considered ‘tail end’ risk that temperatures might rise even further, causing unprecedented loss of landmass and ecosystems.
“Even in mid-range scenarios, entire ecosystems would collapse, much agricultural land would be lost, as would most reliable freshwater sources, leading to large-scale suffering and instability.
With a resurgent Moscow now more willing to flex its muscles, Central and Eastern Europeans have warned of Russia adopting a neo-imperialistic attitude to an area of the world it still regards as its sphere of influence.
In July, the region’s most famed and influential political figures, including Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, wrote an open letter Barack Obama warning him that Russia “is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods.” Moscow and Minsk have insisted that Operation West was to help "ensure the strategic stability in the East European region".But this idea was popular across the board with the US on 67 per cent and Germany, which had the lowest figure, on 62 per cent.Some 74 per cent of people in the US thought climate change could become a global catastrophe, the lowest level among the eight countries; Brazil and South Africa were the most concerned (both 91 per cent) followed by India (90 per cent) and China (86 per cent).“Major coastal cities – New York, Shanghai, Mumbai – would find themselves largely under water and the populations of low-lying coastal regions – currently more than a billion people – may need to be relocated.The Russian air force practised using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which neighbours Poland, Red Army forces stormed a "Polish" beach and attacked a gas pipeline.So it was perhaps encouraging that, across all eight countries, the survey found significant support for taking action on global warming.