World in accord on climate action – HSBC

While governments may still be dithering on making commitments to tackle climate change, the majority of the public in a broad cross section of countries want to see action now.

This is the key finding of a survey carried out by bank the HSBC which asked people in 11 diverse countries.

More than three quarters of those polled said they wanted their government to shoulder its fair share of responsibility, or more than its share, when it came to global efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Almost half rated climate change as a more serious problem than the current economic crisis.

Speaking at the Green Strategy ’08 conference this week, Francis Sullivan, the bank’s top environmental advisor, said that the findings of the survey amounted to a global mandate for governments to act.

Governments have often blamed a lack of public appetite for the costs associated with reducing emissions as a reason not to plough ahead with carbon-cutting policies.

The extensive poll questions whether they have correctly gauged the public’s stance on the issue.

“Three quarters of people around the world are saying something that flies in the face of what governments have been telling us,” said Mr Sullivan.

He said the findings could provide ammunition for politicians advocating action when they meet for the UN’s climate summit in Poznan this week.

The poll was commissioned by the HSBC Climate Partnership which includes representatives from several other businesses and NGOs.

It put the questions to 1,000 people in each of the 11 states monitored, which ranged from developing countries to industrial super-powers.

Sam Bond

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