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International consensus: time to stop haggling and agree on carbon ’fair share’


New global research shows climate change key concern in current economic crisis

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’1 or more to allow less developed economies to grow.

As representatives 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).2

Stephen Green, Group Chairman HSBC Holdings plc said: “Finding the solutions to climate change requires a concerted international effort involving governments, NGOs, intergovernmental institutions, the public and, of course, the business community. The HSBC Climate Partnership is an example of how different types of organisations can work together and has already been a catalyst for change in how we do business.”

The launch of the Climate Confidence Monitor is part of HSBC’s broader strategy to tackle climate change. Alongside the HSBC Climate Partnership, initiatives include the Global Environmental Efficiency Programme, a US$90m commitment to reduce its own direct environmental impacts; the Climate Change Centre of Excellence which assesses the financial implications of climate change and the Climate Change Research Facilitation Programme which provides fund managers access to climate change research from a number of specialist providers.

1All 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.

2All 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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