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.