Friday, November 28, 2008

Efforts to support global climate-change falls:

Efforts to support global climate-change falls: Poll

Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent
Canwest News Service

Thursday, November 27, 2008

CREDIT: Roland Schlager/Getty Images
A file photo showd snow cannons blasting artificial snow on a slope in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Due to the uncommonly warm weather many European alpine ski resorts have no snow.

PARIS - There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.

Results of the poll were released this week in advance of the start of a major international conference in Poland where delegates are considering steps toward a new international climate-change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

There already are reports emerging that some countries, such as coal-dependent Poland, are pushing for special treatment to avoid making major commitments to slash carbon emissions during a global economic downturn.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.

Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop.

And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago.

The Canadian results, from a poll of 1,000 respondents conducted in September, were virtually identical to the overall figures. There are no comparative figures for Canada because Canadians weren't included in the global study in 2007.

The 11 countries surveyed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. There were 2,000 respondents surveyed in China, including 1,000 in Hong Kong.

The survey was conducted as part of a joint collaboration between the financial institution HSBC and environmental groups, such as the Earthwatch Institute.

"There's consumer reluctance that's creeping in, and we've seen that some are being stunned into inaction by the enormity of the task," said Earthwatch executive vice-president Nigel Winser.

Results of the poll suggested that 55 per cent of respondents in the 11 countries said their governments should be doing more by investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and wave power.

That's more than double the 27 per cent who wanted their governments to participate in Kyoto-style international agreements to reduce emissions.

In Canada, the same portion favoured renewable-energy options, while 32 per cent supported collective international efforts.

"People believe governments are focusing too much attention on indirect actions that pass responsibility for climate change onto others, such as increasing taxes on fossil fuels, encouraging individual environmentally friendly activities and participating in international negotiations, such as the Kyoto Protocol," the report said.

"More needs to be done to inform consumers about measures such as green taxation or carbon trading to help them understand how tangible these can be."

The poll helps explain why outgoing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion had so much difficulty during the election campaign trying to sell his Green Shift platform that proposed a carbon tax in order to encourage emission reductions.

Earthwatch's Winser said the silver lining in the poll was that it stresses public dissatisfaction with the performance of all governments.

"We welcome this survey because it shows that individuals want their governments to do more."

HSBC was unable to provide the poll's margin of error.

1 comment:

Ted said...

On Dec 5 the Supreme Court will either allow or disallow the usurpation of both the Constitution and the Government of the United States — easily the most pivotal decision since our nation’s founding — and the silence of the news media is deafening (if not downright scary).