US, China under fire on climate: poll

A A A

The United States and China, the planet's two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, both get low marks around the world for their actions on climate change, a 20-nation poll found Wednesday.

WorldPublicOpinion.org, a global project run at the University of Maryland, found mixed reviews for China and the United States in general from Muslim-majority nations suspicious of Washington and from the West uneasy about China's rise.

The survey was released days before President Barack Obama heads to China, where climate change is set to be a major topic between the two giants as the clock ticks to next month's high-stakes UN-sponsored Copenhagen summit set to hammer out a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

Only 39 percent of people across the 20 developed and developing nations surveyed approved of US policy on climate change. Thirty-six percent backed China's performance, with the figure dwindling to single digits in some Western nations and Taiwan.

The United States was the only industrialized power to shun the landmark Kyoto Protocol requiring emission cuts, while China has demanded that rich nations do more as part of the next agreement.

More broadly, 44 percent of participants said China played a mainly positive role in the world and 40 percent said the United States played a mainly positive role, a difference largely within the margin of error in some nations polled.

There were strong regional differences. The country that gave China the lowest marks was Germany, where only 21 percent said Beijing played a positive role. China's rating was 26 percent in France, 33 percent in the United States and 40 percent in Britain.

The United States met sharp opposition in Muslim-majority countries, with no more than 16 percent of people in Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey saying that Washington was generally a positive force. Russia also figured in that group.

But the US role won higher marks in Europe, Asia and Africa. In Kenya, where US President Barack Obama's father was born, 81 percent said the United States was generally a force for good - a notch more than even in the United States itself where 80 percent said so.

"There is a division in the world with some Europeans pulling more closely to the US and the Muslim world pulling much closer to China and being quite negative to the US," WorldPublicOpinion.org director Steven Kull told AFP.

"I think that's quite a key division line and it's pretty salient."

He said that negative perceptions of the United States in key areas - such as that Washington uses force to achieve its aims - persisted despite Obama's election a year ago.

With sharp regional divisions, only 50 percent said the United States generally respected human rights, higher than the 36 percent who said the same about China, but a figure that Kull said was surprisingly low for Washington.

He pointed to "residual resentment" against perceived excesses under Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, including the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US naval base detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The poll found the fewest differences in perceptions of the United States and China in sub-Saharan Africa, where the public largely welcomed both powers.

The survey took responses from 20,349 people around the world in person, by telephone or online. The margin of error varied from country to country but ranged from three to four percent.

Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Commonwealth GamesEntertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game