Poll: the environment is more important than the economy

According to a poll carried out and published by the HSBC Climate Partnership, 43 percent of people believes that climate change is a bigger problem than the economy.

This survey also highlights how the public of the largest countries (including the USA and China) want their governments to act fast and big on climate change.

It has to be hoped that this will force ” governments to stop haggling on carbon concessions and act ” as the HSBC Climate Partnership notes.

To the UNEP press release:

The environment remains a top concern for people around the world despite the financial crisis, according to a global poll by the HSBC Climate Partnership, which includes HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF.

The new poll, released on 26 November, finds that 43 per cent see climate change as a bigger problem than the economy.

The survey confirms the findings of a UNEP poll released in October that showed that nearly 90 per cent of young people across the globe think world leaders should do “whatever it takes” to tackle climate change.

As representatives around the world prepare to gather in Poland next week for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the two surveys are an unequivocal call from people around the world for unity in the fight against climate change.

The Climate Partnership poll interviewed 12,000 people in total: 1,000 people each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Britain and the United States.

Three-quarters of those polled said they want their countries to reduce their “fair share” of greenhouse gas emissions, and a further 55 per cent of people believed their government should invest in renewable energy.

In the USA, 72 per cent of people said their country should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries. In China, 62 per cent of people said their country should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries and only 4 per cent said their country’s emissions should be allowed to increase.

People in emerging markets also want their governments to be generous with emission cuts, with only 4 per cent believing that their country’s emissions should be allowed to increase to enable their economies to grow. In Mexico and Brazil, over 80 per cent of people want to cut emissions by their ‘fair share’ or more – as high a level as in developed markets.

Nicholas Stern, the author of the Stern report and an advisor to HSBC, said the 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,” he added.

The HSBC survey strongly echoes UNEP’s own survey of young people’s views on climate change, in which a majority of 12 to 18 year olds in Brazil, Russia, South Africa and the United States said “it is necessary to take major steps starting very soon” to fight climate change.

Young people in South Africa, the United States and Brazil were particularly critical of world leaders’ efforts to address climate change, with seven in ten or more across these three countries saying world leaders are not doing enough (82 per cent in South Africa; 79 per cent in the United States; and 73 per cent in Brazil).

UNEP commissioned the youth survey as part of the launch of the UNite to Combat Climate Change campaign, which supports the call for a definitive agreement on climate change at the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2009.

For further information on this, please check out this page from the HSBC Climate Partnership.

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