Consumers Rank Climate Concerns Ahead of Economy

Published on
by
The Guardian/UK

Consumers Rank Climate Concerns Ahead of Economy

Consumers around the world want governments to stop haggling and start acting on climate change, survey finds • Nearly half of all 12,000 respondents in 12 countries chose climate change ahead of the economy

by
Alok Jha

Even as economies struggle citizens want to see action taken on climate initiatives. (Ben Heine)

Consumers around the world want governments to stop haggling and start acting on climate change, according to a survey carried out in 12 countries by a coalition of climate groups.

Despite
the looming prospect of a deep global recession, 43% of the 12,000
respondents of the survey chose climate change ahead of the global
economy when asked about their current concerns. Worldwide, 77% of
respondents wanted to see their governments cutting carbon by their
fair share or more, in order to allow developing countries to grow
their economies.

The survey was carried out for the HSBC
Climate Partnership, a collaboration between the international bank and
climate NGOs including WWF, the Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute and
the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Lord Stern, and
adviser to HSBC on economic development and climate change and former
adviser to the UK government, said: "This research demonstrates the
need for decisive action on climate change. The urgent challenge is to
build a framework for a global deal so that consensus can be reached in
Copenhagen next year and the discussions in Poznan are a critical
stepping stone to achieving this. Now is the time to lay the
foundations of a new form of growth that can transform our economies
and societies."

The results of the group's climate confidence
monitor are based on an internet questionnaire presented to to 1,000
people each in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France,
Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, UK and the US. The survey
was conducted between mid-September and early October 2008.

Even
in many emerging countries, people said their governments must reduce
greenhouse gases - 62% of respondents in China said they should reduce
emissions and only 4% said the country's emissions should be allowed to
increase. In Mexico and Brazil, more than 80% wanted emissions cuts
that tallied with their fair share of global targets - as high a level
as in developed countries. In the USA, 72% of people said their country
should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries.

David
Nussbaum, the chief executive of WWF-UK, said: "The current global
economic crisis is a stark reminder of the consequences of living
beyond our means. As the world looks to restore its economies we must
build in long-term environmental as well as economic sustainability."

Steve
Howard, chief executive of the Climate Group, a coalition of businesses
and governments aimed at moving towards a low-carbon economy, said the
survey showed that "politicians have the political will of the people
behind them to come to an agreement on climate change. Politicians now
have the support they need to seize this historic opportunity and
secure a global deal on climate change." 

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