Copenhagen: Deal or no deal?
65 percent of global population demand governments commit to climate deal
Nearly two thirds (65 percent) of people surveyed across the globe believe a new international deal to cut emissions is "very important," according to the annual Climate Confidence Monitor. The 12 country study, commissioned by the HSBC Climate Partnership, in which Earthwatch is one of four NGO partners, sends a clear message to governments preparing to attend the UN climate change summit in December to agree on a policy framework to tackle climate change.
The third Climate Confidence Monitor reveals a global consensus on emission reduction targets. 79 percent want to see a commitment to "meet or significantly exceed" a 50-80 percent cut in emissions by 2050. This demand for commitment to reduction targets is highest in Mexico (91 percent), Brazil (90 percent), Hong Kong (84 percent) and China (82 percent) and lowest in India (75 percent), the UK (71 percent) and the US (66 percent).
Despite the deepening of the global recession since last year’s survey was conducted, nearly seven in 10 people (69 percent) agreed that addressing climate change is at least as important, if not more important, than supporting their national economy during the downturn. Respondents to this question were asked to prioritize spending public money on healthcare, crime, national defense, education and supporting the national economy during the downturn.
The UK's Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, adviser to HSBC on economic development and climate change, said: “With just over a month to go before Copenhagen, this is a clear call from the global population for a strong and effective deal. Rich and developing countries must act together to create an agreement that will lay the foundations for a future era of dynamic low-carbon growth.”
The Climate Confidence Monitor 2009 also revealed that for the third year running, there is a stronger desire for action in emerging economies than in the developed world. In Brazil, 86 percent and in Mexico, 83 percent believe it is very important that a deal in Copenhagen is reached. Globally only two percent of people feel a new climate deal isn’t important at all.
Nigel Winser, Executive Vice President of Earthwatch says: “As global citizens we should not be complacent about the impacts of climate change. We all have a responsibility to work towards sustainable solutions to drastically and permanently reduce our carbon emissions. The results of the Climate Confidence Monitor send a clear message, particularly from the developing world, to world leaders to commit to delivering these changes.”
Stephen Green, Group Chairman HSBC Holdings plc, said: "We know that the impacts of climate change will particularly affect the emerging markets and clearly the people of those countries are concerned. We look to the Copenhagen meeting to create a framework for a low carbon economy that will allow emerging markets to prosper and create attractive investment opportunities for businesses worldwide.”
HSBC Climate Confidence Monitor 2009
Climate Change v other global issues:
In a year that brought media headlines of pandemic flu and economic meltdown, a third of all respondents (34 percent) believe climate change is one of the biggest issues they worry about today. They were asked to rank climate change as an issue compared to global economic stability, terrorism, violence, pandemic disease, global poverty, natural disasters and social breakdown. In Mexico, 22 percent of respondents ranked climate change as the number one issue.
Personal commitment to low carbon choices:
Commitment to reduce personal impact on climate change by adapting lifestyle choices rose four percentage points from 2008, to 36 percent this year. In particular, France and Mexico show increases in commitment of at least 15 percentage points in the past 12 months. The most popular steps people are taking to reduce their carbon footprint are recycling, turning off electronic equipment and using energy-saving light bulbs. People living in China, Hong Kong, India and France claimed to be most active in making low-carbon lifestyle choices.
Through the HSBC Climate Partnership, Earthwatch has designed and implemented an innovative training program on climate change for HSBC’s global workforce. The results from our forest research will also help decision makers and communities better understand how forests should be managed in a changing climate.
The Climate Confidence Monitor is part of the HSBC Climate Partnership’s aim to raise awareness of climate change issues and to facilitate action to address them. For more information on the results of the research, visit http://www.hsbc.com/1/2/climateconfidencemonitor.
HSBC Climate Confidence Monitor 2009
1. Further research findings:
65 percent say that agreeing a new climate deal is "extremely important" or "very important." This is highest in Brazil (86 percent) and Mexico (83 percent) and lowest in UK (56 percent), Canada (55 percent) and US (45 percent). Globally, a further 16 percent say that agreeing a deal is "important," 11 percent are "unsure of its importance," five percent say it "isn’t really important" and just two percent say that it is "not important at all".
• When asked whether we can stop climate change, 38 percent of people said they strongly believed that it could not be stopped. This is highest in the UK (53 percent), Canada (51 percent) and France (50 percent). Only 17 percent of people strongly believed that it could be stopped. This was highest amongst China (38 percent), Hong Kong (28 percent) and India (30 percent).
• One in three (33 percent) across the world say that people and organizations are not doing what is needed to tackle climate change. People in Asia are typically far more confident than those in Europe, North America and Latin America that enough is being done. China (54 percent) and Hong Kong (40 percent) have the highest levels of confidence.
• 31 percent of people claim to make regular low carbon choices, which include using low carbon transport, regularly switching off electrical appliances, recycling and making energy efficient improvements to their houses. Highest responses came from China at 65 percent, Hong Kong at 43 percent and India at 38 percent.
2. HSBC Climate Partnership
The HSBC Climate Partnership is a five-year partnership between HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF. The partnership aims to combat the urgent threat of climate change by inspiring individuals, businesses and governments worldwide to tackle its impacts on people, forests, water and cities.
• In 2009, The Climate Group launched the Hong Kong Carbon Reduction Campaign – the first cross-industry effort promoting a low-carbon lifestyle to HSBC employees; co-founded the Mumbai Energy Alliance to implement large-scale energy efficiency projects to reduce the city’s energy costs and carbon footprint; and convened Climate Week NYC, a high-profile platform for business, government and citizens to voice their support for a global deal in Copenhagen.
• Since the launch of the HSBC Climate Partnership, Earthwatch has opened five Regional Climate Centers where, to date, almost 1000 HSBC Climate Champions have worked alongside leading scientists to investigate the impacts of climate change on forests and design workplace projects that help HSBC embed sustainable business practices.
• The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has implemented a vast global field experiment encompassing nearly 2,000 ha of forest and 3.5 million trees. Across this area that spans 34 countries, STRI is studying the landscape at the scale of individual trees to quantify the benefits – such as carbon storage and water regulation – of forests in a changing climate.
• WWF is working with the Chinese government to extend the work on the central and lower Yangtze Protected Area network to the entire Yangtze River. This will incorporate over 150 protected areas, and the network will be used to provide basin resilience to the impacts of climate change.
3. Background on the research
The Climate Confidence Monitor research was carried out by Lightspeed and analyzed by Globescan. It was based on a 10 question online survey. A minimum of 1,000 respondents were surveyed in 12 markets: Respondents selected to be nationally representative in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and USA. Distribution in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Mexico is representative of the online population in those countries.
4. HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 8,500 offices in 86 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,422 billion as of June 30, 2009, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as "the world's local bank."