BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has led adults in the five largest European countries and the United States to be more concerned than before the spill about many environmental issues and oil dependency, according to a new poll released last week.
In all of the countries surveyed in the Financial Times/Harris Poll public attitudes towards the environment and oil dependency has been heavily influenced in the U.S., according to the poll. Of the six countries surveyed, Americans showed the highest levels of concern for the environment and oil dependency, while Britons were less likely to be more concerned with the state of the environment and oil dependency. Two-thirds of Americans who are aware of the oil spill say they are more concerned with the issue of oil dependency, according to the poll.
In terms of attitude toward oil dependence in the other countries surveyed, roughly three in five Spaniards, Italians and Germans, and just under half of French and British are more concerned with the issue of oil dependency.
Other results from the poll include:
"Strong majorities of those aware of the oil spill in Germany (79%), Spain (75%), Italy (74%), the U.S. (72%) and France (63%) are more concerned about water pollution since the spill. Only about half of Britons (48%) say the same. Just under half of British adults aware of the spill say they are no more or less concerned."
There is also more concern over the issue of oil exploration since the spill:
"Three in five Americans (62%), Italians (62%), Germans (60%) and Spaniards (60%) as well as just under half of French adults aware of the oil spill (46%) are more concerned about this issue since the spill. British adults are again slightly different. While two in five who are aware of the spill (40%) are more concerned, over half (52%) are no more or less concerned."
The role of government: More regulation of oil companies
In terms of the role of government, there is agreement in all six countries of the countries surveyed that oil companies should be more regulated.
"Over seven in ten French (91%), Italians (90%), Spaniards (90%), Germans (82%), Americans (77%) and Britons (73%) who are aware of the oil spill agree oil companies should be more regulated."
Of course, there is less consensus about the actual role the governments should play with regard to these types of problems.
"Just under half of Spaniards (49%) and Italians (46%) as well as two in five Americans (43%) and Britons (43%) agree that governments should clean up and repair environmental damages caused by private businesses. However, half of French adults (51%) and over two in five Germans (44%) disagree with this idea."
While there appears to be a certain sense of allegiance among Britons, toward BP (which was shortened from British Petroleum, of course), it's not all that surprising that in terms of the general feeling in most of the countries surveyed about attitudes toward BP, the oil spill, and the general health of the environment, people are more concerned than they were before the spill. However, if the past is any indicator, as attention to the issue wanes and the media turns its gaze elsewhere, concern will stabilize and
Photo: Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller via flickr/CC