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New Global Survey Finds Consumers Want Government Action on Climate Change; Decreasing Willingness to Take Personal Action

Percentage of respondents ranking climate change higher than global economy. Click to enlarge.

The results of a new global survey released by the HSBC Climate Partnership show that consumers want governments to stop haggling on carbon concessions and act. The Climate Confidence Monitor 2008 surveyed 12,000 people across 12 markets and found that 43% of those surveyed chose climate change ahead of global economic stability when asked about their top three concerns, despite the survey taking place in the midst of the financial market turmoil in September-October 2008.

In a clear call for resolution to the debate on emission targets, 77% of people surveyed worldwide want to see their government cutting carbon by their national “fair share” or more to allow less developed economies to grow.

However, the findings come against a global backdrop of consumer reluctance to take more personal responsibility to tackle the problem. Individuals’ willingness to make further changes to purchasing decisions or lifestyles is falling (figures dropped by 29% and 19% respectively compared with 2007).

Activities people believe their government is currently, and should be, doing. Click to enlarge.

As representatives around the world prepare to gather in Poland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, consumers believe governments should focus more on direct action. Twice as many people say that governments should invest in renewable energy (55%) than participate in international negotiations on climate change (27%).

...people believe governments are focusing too much attention on indirect actions that pass responsibility for climate change onto others, such as increasing taxes on fossil fuels, encouraging individual environmentally friendly activities and participating in international negotiations such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Whatever their ultimate potential, people do not see the impact of these approaches. Government involvement in carbon trading, in particular, is neither visible nor seen as a priority.

—Climate Confidence Monitor 2008

Even in the countries emitting the most carbon dioxide, the majority of people want their country to make a fair contribution. In China, 62% of people said their country should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries and only 4% said their country’s emissions should be allowed to increase. In the USA, 72%t of people said their country should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries.

In emerging markets, people want their governments to be generous with emission cuts. Only 4% of people in the emerging markets believe their country’s emissions should be allowed to increase to enable their economies to grow. In Mexico and Brazil, more than 80% of people want to cut emissions by their fair share or more—as high a level as in developed markets.

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.

—Lord Nicholas Stern, adviser to HSBC on economic development and climate change

The HSBC Climate Partnership is a five-year partnership from 2007-2012 between HSBC and The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF.

The research was carried out for the second year by Lightspeed and was based on a twenty-minute Internet survey. One thousand respondents were surveyed in each of the 12 markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, UK and the USA. Research consultancy Lippincott was responsible for the analysis. The survey was conducted between mid September and early October 2008.

With assets of some US$2,547 billion at 30 June 2008, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.



Makes sense. There are too many freeloaders out there.


its human nature to let the higher anarchy to worry about it... while we have busy lives that we have to worry about!


Well I can say I'm not one of those not taking personal actions. My jeep died 3 years ago and it's since been a rusting pile on my mom's property, absorbing oxygen as it rusts. I should have gotten rid of it a few months ago, now I doubt anyone would take it.

Ride my bike, produce 1 shopping bag's worth of garbage every 2 months. And next summer I'm going into the wilderness for 6 months with solar panels for power, eating salmon and crabs I catch along the way!!


"Makes sense. There are too many freeloaders out there."
Many who post here at GCC.

 as floccina

Yeah everybody wants government action as long as it costs nothing but the only sensible action is a carbon tax and people will not like that and the politicians know that. So look for more destructive policies like ethanol and CAFE standards. It will look like the politicians are fighting co2 but the cost are hidden.


Hmmm, only 11% think that limiting CO2 emissions is a good idea.

"The indirect activities that many governments are focusing on, such as carbon markets and taxation systems, are seen by consumers as less of a priority, says the report."

"... people's individual engagement with the issue is stalling: willingness to make further changes to lifestyles, contribute more time and spend extra money are all down compared to 2007," says the report.

Does this really surprise anyone? Considering the stupefying bungle of the global warming scare?

Henry Gibson

No one wants to buy an adequate real ten-horsepower car. An old truck nameplate gave a rating of 25 horse-power. A popular early French car was called the two horsepower.

There is a quick and easy way for developed countries and developing countries to reduce CO2 production.

If your country's ecological religion forbids you to burn one pound of uranium in place of three million pounds of carbon which makes more than nine million pounds of CO2, then you can easily make machines that capture the CO2 and then ship it to countries that will use nuclear reactors to make it into gasoline and sell it back to you at high prices.

CANDU nuclear reactors may be the fastest to build right now and the fuel costs are low. In fact, Canada, France and Great Britain, at least, would be allowed to buy the used fuel rods stored at US nuclear power plants for less than nothing. Such rods could be just shortened, with new ends added, to be used. Or the contents could be processed to just remove the fission products and then put into new tubes. It would be interesting to know if the old tubes could just be thermally annealed to give them new life.

The US should only build nuclear power plants and no other type. Natural gas is too valuable as a home and small business fuel to be used in power plants and there were once laws against it and should be now. Natural gas is well used in home and small business cogeneration systems where much of the heat is captured. It is even possible to use engine powered heat pumps for more than 100 percent heat production from the fuel.

There must be some government control if the reduction of CO2 release and energy efficiency is the intent. There must be laws to require cogeneration heating installations in all commercial buildings and homes larger than a certain size. Low bid contractors use low cost low efficiency boilers. The end owner would save a lot of money with the more expensive but more efficient equipment. The US government should require every state in the US to get %55 of its electric power from nuclear reactors built within the state. It should require NEW YORK and other cities that could use central steam heat to build deep underground reactors for heat alone. This should also reduce the cost of the reactor substantially and make the heat cheaper than even coal. Requiring nuclear heat and power is even more logical than requiring the use of ethanol or renewable fuel and it is more cost effective. ..HG..


Henry, along with everything else, you misinterpret what a Citroen 2CV is. A CV is worth about 17 horsepower or so. Cars in France are rated by this system and today's cars typically have 5-15CV. Sure, that leaves the 2CV with only about 34hp, but that's a lot better than 2.

I'll pass on the nuclear power plants. Would you really rather have one of those in your back yard over some windmills or solar panels? Maybe you would. I certainly would not.

Mr. Environment


This article brings up an excellent point. I, too, want government to do something about Global Warming / Global Cooling / Climate Change. If 90% of all government employees would terminate their CO2 output the scientific consensus, not arguable, is that the climate will STOP all changes and people will be much happier.



"... people's individual engagement with the issue is stalling: willingness to make further changes to lifestyles, contribute more time and spend extra money are all down compared to 2007," says the report.

Due entirely to the obdurate AGW cult that insisted on badly rigged "science" to enforce their agenda. Had they not been so bull-headed the people and science community would not have reacted so badly. But hubris comes in all shapes and seizes...

Fortunately calmer minds prevail and the goal of global energy independence is on track. Cars are downsizing, consumption is down, alternatives are becoming viable and by 2010 we will have mass produced plug-in electric vehicles on market. Gloom and doom have been discontinued.

Will S


AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming, which means human-caused.

Were you thinking Anti-Global Warming? I've never seen this condensed to AGW.


We have been thought not to react nor make any changes before it hurts (a lot). Live it up and be happy.

We wait till bridges fall (and a few people die) before repairing or rebuilding them.

Prevention is now called old fashion and no longer required. We live in throw away high consumption societies and the h... with tomorrows.

Why should we worry about AGW, pollution, future generations wellfare, overloaded credit cards, economic trumoils, flooding, storms etc as long as we can walk, celebrate and drive our gas guzzlers.

Street gangs (animals of prey) attitude is becoming a way of life. Will our degraded values change during the current economic turmoil? May be, if it last long enough, like in 19...

Ed Harley

Being pro-active is fine, but bankrupting our economies to combat a largely non-existent threat, C02 mediated warming, is a mistake. Yes, we should be pushing for more nuclear power, EV's, algae oil, etc. However, the reasons for doing so have nothing to do with the pseudo-scientific flavor of the month: AGW.

Will S

Um, Bush and his policies bankrupted our economies. And you can get your opinion from pundits and politicians, or you can get it from those who actually know something about the topic.


The last of the AGW proponents may want to forget a major lesson here: agenda-driven publicity campaigns that ridicule and harass good, honest men and women (hundreds of thousands of AGW skeptics)will fail. No agenda, no matter how "preventative" or ideal can justify the immoral attacks made on the healthy science community that has rejected the AGW campaign.

Truth will always rise above the fabricators. THIS is the most valuable lesson learned in the global warming fiasco - which directly brought on the financial agenda.

"...we do not currently have any convincing evidence or
observations of significant climate change from other than natural causes."
Dr. Frederick Seitz

President Emeritus, Rockefeller University
Past President, National Academy of Sciences
Past President, American Physical Society
Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project

February 2008

Will S

Dr. Frederick Seitz's field of expertise was semiconductors (not climate science), when he was not attempting to refute evidence that tobacco smoke caused cancer (principal scientific advisor to the R.J. Reynolds medical research program) or attempting to pass off hoaxes pretending to be coming from the National Academy of Sciences.

Fred sold his tickets to the highest bidder, much like a prostitute. Don't try to offer your denialist whores as any sort of expert testimony, especially those that have no background in the subject.

"Truth will always rise above the fabricators."

What you don't get is that the AGW deniers are the fabricators.

And as for Dr. Frederick Seitz:

"President Emeritus, Rockefeller University
Past President, National Academy of Sciences
Past President, American Physical Society
Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project"
These titles say nothing about his scientific credentials, they are administrative positions.

As Will points out Dr. Frederick Seitz's field of expertise was solidstate physics.


And um, AGW spokesman AlGore has science credentials? Profligate energy hog Al Gore - took huge donations from big tobacco for years after his sister died of cancer? Al is offered up against a bonafide scientist whose credentials and are hard to impeach?

And the other big time spokesman for IPCC and AGW cult: James E. Hanson - Professor of math and Physics (University Iowa). Hanson who is the loudest of the alarmists has no background in climate either.

"These titles say nothing about his scientific credentials, they are administrative positions." Okay, explain that to the present Presidents of National Academy of Sciences and American Physical Society and... the new guy named Obama while at it.

Face it guys. Your game has run out of hot air.

Al Gore has never claimed to have science credentials nor does he need them to do what he is doing. Al Gore is [as you said] a "spokesman." All he needs to do is listen to those who do have science credentials. They say 'this is what's happening' and then he goes in front of an audience and says 'the scientists say "this is what's happening."'

But for a guy like Frederick Seitz, who's knowledge base lies in metalurgy and crystals, to go and say 'my research tells me the people with a field of expertise in medicine/biochemitry/genetics are wrong about lung cancer' - well that's a fraud.

Will S

"Face it guys. Your game has run out of hot air."

I have a lot of sympathy for victims of propaganda.

If you want to talk scientific credentials, look to these people.

Bob Bastard

"Al is offered up against a bonafide scientist whose credentials and are hard to impeach?"

"Rush Limbaugh is offered up against a bonafide climate scientist whose credentials and are hard to impeach?[sic]"

See how that works? It is called a "straw man."

Phil Merlow

And Hanson who is a mathematician/astronomer and U.S. government employee - took a $250,000 grant from John Kerry's Heinz Foundation before publicly endorsing Kerry's 2004 presidential run. And was paid by Al Gore to consult on Al's "Inconvenient" film.

And Professor Hanson benefited by some $700,000.00 in media packaging funds passed through the Government Accountability Project from George Soros' Open Society Institute - to give him "legal and media" advice.

Many professional guys take money and lobby the donors' position. Seitz and Hanson and Gore among them. The bottom line is, why cling to the outdated AGW theory when there are so many legitimate, indisputable reasons for energy reform? Let's leave the estimated 0.001155 ppm man-made CO2 as an unknown, and get on with global energy independence now.

tom deplume

The globe does have energy independence. Are you advocating an end to international trading of fuels? What other goods should we quit trading across borders?


@reel "And the other big time spokesman for IPCC and AGW cult: James E. Hanson - Professor of math and Physics (University Iowa). Hanson who is the loudest of the alarmists has no background in climate either."

Oh there's more to it than that; Hansen was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. He obtained a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1963, an M.S. in Astronomy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Physics, in 1967, all three degrees from the University of Iowa. He participated in the NASA graduate traineeship from 1962 to 1966 and, at the same time, between 1965 and 1966, he was a visiting student at the Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Kyoto and in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo. As a college student in the University of Iowa, Hansen was attracted to science and research by James Van Allen's space science program in the physics and astronomy department. A decade later, he started focusing on planetary research that involved trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition.

One of Hansen’s research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially interpreting remote sounding of the earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites.

Hansen may be the 'loudest' but he's never been alone. Even from the begining it was a team of scientists at Goddard had reached the conclusion that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to global warming sooner than previously predicted. While other climatologists had already predicted that a trend would be apparent by 2020, Hansen predicted, in a paper published in Science, that the change was already occurring and that there would be record high temperatures as early as 1990. He also predicted that it would be difficult to convince politicians and the public to react. (Both those preditions proved correct.) That early team now has the backing of a lot more scientists- -

What have the naysayers got? a handful of retirees.



Prof Hanson is a qualified astrophysicist, okay. But where are his climate credentials? You guys challenge Seitz's climate creds, and when shown Hanson is no further qualified in CLIMATE than Seitz - you whine and point to his (impressive) achievements in physics.

Hanson takes money, Seitz takes money, Gore takes ALOT of money (from ignorant believers). The defenders of AGW take money. You have no answers for the money taking. But you do have attacks on the retired and elderly:

"What have the naysayers got? a handful of retirees."

Obviously those retirees are free to speak out since they no longer rely on the grants and dollars given by government agencies. How really difficult is it to tell an institution: "Want funding? Here's the agenda." Anyone can buy an "expert" opinion. AGW alarmists certainly have - the same as tobacco bought cancer refuseniks.

We're not saying Hanson is a bad guy. Just one who's following orders... most of the time:

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with accuracy sufficient to define future climate change."
James E. Hanson, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1998

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