December 4, 2009
World Bank: Majority of People Want Action on Climate Change, Even if it Entails Costs
Photo: View of lakes and mountains. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
A new poll of 15 nations, most of them in the developing world, finds that majorities of the people canvassed want their governments to take steps to fight climate change, even if that entails costs. People signaled they would support public measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions and step up adaptation measures. For example, respondents would support higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, preserving or expanding forests, and extending funding to vulnerable countries so they can develop hardier crops suited to more severe climates.
Photo: Fishing. Photo © Alex Baluyut / World Bank.
"The poll's findings shed light on global attitudes at a particularly important moment: the run-up to the conference on climate change to be held December 7-18 in Copenhagen. Hearing from people in the developing world offers a new lens on this issue," says Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development.
Photo: Horse-drawn cart. Mali. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Photo: Mali. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Carried out by WorldPublicOpinion.org and commissioned by the World Bank, the poll questioned 13,518 respondents in 15 nations -- Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam.
Other key findings include:
• Public concern about climate change is high worldwide, but it's generally higher in developing countries.
• Publics, particularly in developing countries, believe climate change is already having negative effects.
• In most countries, wealthy and poor alike, large majorities are willing to pay to fight climate change.
• Support for increased adaptation funding to poor countries is widespread worldwide.
Photo: View of river and mountains. Bhutan. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
"It is encouraging indeed to see strong across-the-board support for committing to emissions limits in both developed and developing nations, since behavior change and attitudes will help determine whether we succeed or fail in addressing this global issue," says Marianne Fay, World Bank Chief Economist for Sustainable Development and Co-Director of the World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.
Ms. Fay explained that the poll was commissioned as a follow-up to the recently released WDR. The aim was to gain a better understanding of how the recommendations of the Report to invest substantially and immediately to manage climate change ("Act now, act together, and act differently") resonate in a cross-section of countries.
In the low-income country of Vietnam, for example, 98% say their government should commit to limiting emissions as part of a deal, and 93% support the same course in the absence of a deal. At the other end of the wealth spectrum, the people of France express 97% support if an agreement is reached at Copenhagen, and 87% if no agreement emerges.
Photo: View of road before storm. Ghana. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Majorities in 14 of 15 countries are willing to pay to fight global climate change.
Majorities in most countries also support measures that would raise costs for energy and transportation.
Photo: Portrait of children. India. Photo © World Bank / Curt Carnemark.
Similarly, majorities in 12 countries support "gradually increasing the requirements for fuel efficiency in automobiles, even if this raises the cost of cars and bus fares." Majorities in 11 countries support "gradually reducing government subsidies that favor private transportation, even if this raises its cost." Majorities in all countries polled support "preserving or expanding forested areas, even if this means less land for agriculture or construction."
WorldPublicOpinion.org operates as a collaborative project involving research centers from around the world that is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The margins of error for each country range from +/-3 to 4 percentage points. The surveys were conducted across the different nations in September and October 2009.
Source: World Bank
"We, the Heads of the MDBs and the IMF, appeal to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to agree in Copenhagen the foundations for an ambitious, comprehensive, and equitable global climate change regime that enables all countries to achieve sustainable development along climate-resilient and low greenhouse gas emission-intensive paths. We recognise the primacy of the UNFCCC, whose principles and process we have supported from the start. We endeavour, in accordance with our organizations' respective mandates, expertise, and resources, to further coordinate our financing and analyses of climate change actions and enable our client partners to maximise the effective use of new financial flows."
-- Joint statement by the heads of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.
The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) has released the names of over 140 leading climate experts from 17 countries who are asking the United Nations and other supporters of this month's Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming (AGW) and other changes in climate.
• "With revelations that critical temperature data used by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change appear to have been intentionally distorted to increase warming trends, national representatives to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference must demand a thorough re-examination of the scientific evidence supporting proposed mitigation actions. This should not be limited to simple temperature data auditing but must also include a re-evaluation of many of the climate-related assertions uncritically accepted by politicians and media worldwide."
-- Dr. Tim Patterson, ICSC Chair and Professor of Earth Sciences at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
• "While policies designed to conserve energy, reduce pollution and help vulnerable peoples adapt to climate change are important to pursue, proposals to severely curtail GHG emissions in an effort to control climate make no sense, given the current state of scientific knowledge. Instead we need to focus on environmental issues we know we can positively impact - air, land and water pollution being primary examples."
-- Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, Professor Emeritus, Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Posted by Editors at December 4, 2009 8:32 AM | Link to this Post