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.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus all the build-up to Man City vs Chelsea and Everton vs Palace
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
News
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam