World wants climate change action
A new study of 15 nations, the majority in the developing world, discovered that majorities of the people polled want their governments to take steps to fight climate change, even if that entails costs. According to the report, people signaled they would support public measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions and step up adaptation measures.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
The study comes on the backdrop of next week’s Copenhagen conference on climate change, where experts and analysts are hopeful that governments will respond to the crisis in order to push projects forward that could curtail the problems the globe is facing due to global warming and climate change.
Here in Egypt, where reports of massive detrimental effects of climate change have been reported – notably the Nile Delta being submerged by water if action is not taken – analysts believe the governments of the world need to move quickly in line with their people’s desire to see a better world.
“We know that people are the life force of societies, so it only makes sense they want to see some action and changes to how the current status quo on climate change is going. Across Egypt and Africa, people understand how important it is,” said Hammou Laamrani from Cairo’s International Research Center. He is an expert on water issues.
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.
According to the study, majorities in 14 of 15 countries are willing to pay to fight global climate change. In each country, the poll asked people whether they were willing to bear higher prices for energy and other goods, as part of taking steps to fight climate change. These price increases were calculated as 0.5% and 1.0% of each country’s per capita GDP, and then described to respondents as defined monthly amounts in local currency. Majorities in six countries–China (68%), Vietnam (59%), Japan (53%), Iran (51%) and Mexico (51%)–say they are willing to pay 1%. In addition, majorities in an additional eight countries are willing to pay between 0.5% and 1.0%.
Majorities in most countries also support measures that would raise costs for energy and transportation.