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Copenhagen: Deal or no deal?


65 per cent of global population demand governments commit to climate deal

65% imageNearly two thirds (65 per cent) of people surveyed across the globe believe a new international deal to cut emissions is ’very important’, according to the annual Climate Confidence Monitor released today. The 12 country study, commissioned by the HSBC Climate Partnership, sends a clear message to governments preparing to attend the UN climate change summit in December to agree on a policy framework to tackle climate change.

The third Climate Confidence Monitor reveals a global consensus on emission reduction targets. 79 per cent want to see a commitment to ’meet or significantly exceed’ a 50-80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050. This demand for commitment to reduction targets is highest in Mexico (91 per cent), Brazil (90 per cent), Hong Kong (84 per cent) and China (82 per cent) and lowest in India (75 per cent), UK (71 per cent) and the US (66 per cent).

Despite the deepening of the global recession since last year’s survey was conducted, seven in 10 people (69 per cent) agreed that addressing climate change is at least as important, if not more important than supporting their national economy during the downturn. Respondents to this question were asked to prioritise spending public money on healthcare, crime, national defence, education and supporting the national economy during the downturn.

Lord Stern, adviser to HSBC on economic development and climate change said: “With just over a month to go before Copenhagen, this is a clear call from the global population for a strong and effective deal. Rich and developing countries must act together to create an agreement that will lay the foundations for a future era of dynamic low-carbon growth.”

The Climate Confidence Monitor 2009 also revealed:

Emerging v Developed Markets: For the third year running, the Climate Confidence Monitor shows that there is a stronger desire for action in emerging economies than in the developed world. In Brazil, 86 per cent and in Mexico, 83 per cent believe it is very important that a deal in Copenhagen is reached. Globally only two per cent of people feel a new climate deal isn’t important at all.

Stephen Green, Group Chairman HSBC Holdings plc said: "We know that the impacts of climate change will particularly affect the emerging markets and clearly the people of those countries are concerned. We look to the Copenhagen meeting to create a framework for a low carbon economy that will allow emerging
markets to prosper and create attractive investment opportunities for businesses worldwide"

Climate Change v other global issues: In a year that brought media headlines of pandemic flu and economic meltdown, a third of all respondents (34 per cent) believe climate change is one of the biggest issues they worry about today. They were asked to rank climate change as an issue compared to global economic stability, terrorism, violence, pandemic disease, global poverty, natural disasters and social breakdown. In Mexico, 22 per cent of respondents ranked climate change as the number one issue.

Personal commitment to low carbon choices: Commitment to reduce personal impact on climate change by adapting lifestyle choices rose four percentage points from 2008 to 36 per cent this year. In particular, France and Mexico show increases in commitment of at least 15 percentage points in the past 12 months. The most popular steps people are taking to reduce their carbon footprint are recycling, turning off electronic equipment and using energy-saving light bulbs. People living in China, Hong Kong, India and France claimed to be most active in making low-carbon lifestyle choices.

Steve Howard, Chief Executive of the Climate Group commented on this trend: “World leaders must agree a deal in Copenhagen that unlocks low carbon jobs and growth, and enables the rest of us to make smarter, greener choices about the ways we heat our homes, fuel our cars and power our businesses.”

The Climate Confidence Monitor is part of the HSBC Climate Partnership’s aim to raise awareness of climate change issues and to facilitate action to address them. For more information on the results of the research, visit

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