New global research shows climate change key concern in current
Global research results released today by the HSBC Climate Partnership reveal that consumers want governments to stop haggling on carbon concessions and act.
The economic situation has not dampened enthusiasm for government action. Forty three per cent of people chose climate change ahead of the global economy when asked about their current concerns, despite the turmoil in the financial markets taking place at the time.
In a clear call for resolution to the debate on emission targets, 77 per cent 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.
As representatives of countries 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 per cent) than participate in international negotiations on climate change (27 per cent).
Lord Nicholas Stern, adviser to HSBC on economic development and climate change, 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."
Even in the countries emitting the most carbon dioxide, the majority of people want their country to make a fair contribution. In China, 62 per cent of people said their country should reduce emissions by at least as much as other countries and only four per cent said their country's emissions should be allowed to increase. In the USA, 72 per cent 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 four per cent 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, over 80 per cent of people want to cut emissions by their ‘fair share' or more - as high a level as in developed markets.
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 per cent and 19 per cent respectively compared with 2007).**
Nigel Winser, Executive Vice President, Earthwatch says, "A lack of leadership from governments has resulted in a distinct apathy for action internationally. Imparting knowledge on climate change is no longer enough; people need to feel part of a collective in order to be empowered. Our vision is that governments, companies and NGOs work together to build communities of concerned and committed individuals."
Through the HSBC Climate Partnership, Earthwatch has designed and implemented an innovative training programme on climate change for HSBC's global workforce. The results from our forest research will also help decision makers and communities to better understand how forests should be managed as our climate changes.
* All participants answering ‘all countries' CO2 emissions should be reduced by the same proportion' or ‘my country's CO2 emissions should be reduced by more than average to allow less developed economies to grow' from a list of options relating to sharing the burden of reducing global CO2 emissions.
** All consumers who agreed ‘strongly agree' or ‘agree' to: ‘I am prepared to spend extra money to help reduce climate change'; and ‘I am prepared to make changes to my lifestyle to help reduce climate change'.
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Notes to editors:
1. HSBC Climate Partnership
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 partnership aims to combat the urgent threat of climate change by inspiring individuals, businesses and
Working with these partners, and engaging its 335,000 employees, HSBC hopes to tackle climate change impacts for people, forests, water and cities. Achievements include:
- The Climate Group has launched the UK Together campaign, which has helped households save 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide to date by providing cheap and easy ways for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Earthwatch has opened three forest Climate Centres in Brazil, the UK and the US to research how forests can be managed better in a changing climate. Climate Centres will open in India and China in 2009. Earthwatch has designed and implemented an innovative training programme on climate change for HSBC's global workforce.
- The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has reforested over 100 hectares in the Panama Canal Watershed with 140,000 seedlings.
- WWF has helped 22 nature reserves in China join together to manage jointly 12,000 square kilometres of protected area to tackle increased flooding, reduce pollution and safeguard endangered species in the central and lower regions of the Yangtze River.
2. Background on the research
The research was carried out for the second year by Lightspeed and was based on a twenty-minute Internet survey. 1,000 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. The specific dates for each market were as follows: Australia 23/09 - 01/10; Brazil 18/09 - 02/10; Canada 24/09 - 02/10; China 22/09 - 29/09; France 16/09 - 26/09; Germany 22/09 - 24/09; India 18/09 - 23/09; Hong Kong 16/09 -
29/09; Malaysia 24/09 - 02/10; Mexico 18/09 - 02/10; UK 15/09 - 22/09; US 15/09 - 29/09.