Whether it Helps or Hurts the Economy, Global Public Wants Governments to Act on Climate Change

Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP Newsdesk
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EMBARGO: 1700 GMT Thursday 17 September 2009 Whether it Helps or Hurts the Economy, Global Public Wants Governments to Act on Climate Change Nairobi/London, 17 September 2009 – Over sixty percent of people around the world believe combating climate change will be good for the economy. And even if the economy is harmed, a similar number of people believe governments should act anyway to address climate change. These are among the findings of a poll by international polling firm GlobeScan, which surveyed 20,000 people from 19 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America. GlobeScan and its research partners conducted the poll between June and August 2009. The findings come some 80 days before the crucial United Nations climate convention meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark where governments are scheduled to ink a new, forward-looking climate agreement. Citizens are also sending a strong call to the G20 group of nations meeting in Pittsburgh and world leaders meeting on climate change in New York next week at the invitation of Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General. Doug Miller, Chairman of GlobeScan said, “Citizens across the world believe climate action is vital and has to be a priority – but also that it can go hand-in-hand with economic recovery.” Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), added on being presented with the findings, “The best science and the best economics have been telling governments for some time that fast and decisive action is needed on climate change. Now leaders know that if they seal a good and transformative deal in Copenhagen, they will also have the majority of public opinion on their side too.”

Impact of Government Investments
Majorities in 14 of 19 countries surveyed believe that government actions to address climate change, such as “investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transportation” are good for the economy.

This view is held by significant majorities in Germany (79%), Japan, (79%), Canada (78%), China (76%), France (74%), Australia (74%, United Kingdom (73%), Brazil (70%), Mexico (68%) and the United States (68%).

Only one in five (22%) around the world believe that government investments to address climate change hurt the economy. Kenyans (38%) and Indians (36%) are the most inclined to believe that
this type of government action negatively affects the economy.

Support for Climate Spending
Even if there are negative economic impacts, a similar number still support climate action. Majorities in 15 of 19 countries surveyed support government action to address climate change despite possible detriment to the economy, with support reaching 89 percent in China and 70 percent or more in Australia, France, Kenya, Mexico, and the UK.

Americans stand out among developed countries as having the lowest level of support for government action on climate change even with economic impacts, but a slim majority (52%) still support this type of investment.

Only in Pakistan and the Philippines do majorities oppose their government making investments to address climate change if this hurts the economy.

Strong support for an international agreement to address climate change mirrors other findings of the global survey. There are very high levels of concern over the issue; almost nine in ten people (88%) consider climate change to be a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. Over the ten years that GlobeScan has tracked the issue, concern over climate change has grown in most countries and there has been very little decreases in concern through the current economic recession

For more details, please visit http://www.GlobeScan.com as well as the GlobeScan Insights blog at http://globescaninsights.blogspot.com. For media interviews, please contact: Doug Miller, Chairman, GlobeScan Incorporated, London, UK Mobile: +44 7899 977 000, Canadian Mobile: + 416 230 2231, doug.miller@GlobeScan.com Sam Mountford, Research Director, GlobeScan Incorporated, Office: +44 20 7253 1447, Mobile: +44 7854 132625, sam.mountford@globescan.com Oliver Martin, Director Global Development, GlobeScan Incorporated, Toronto, Office: +1 416 969 3073, Mobile: +1 416 721 3544 oliver.martin@globescan.com Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson/Head of Media, Office of the Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, Office : +254 20 7623084, Mobile : +254 733 632755, nick.nuttall@unep.org GlobeScan Incorporated is a global survey research firm providing strategic advice to companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs, on reputation, sustainability, and corporate responsibility. The company is a world leader in conducting comprehensive general public and stakeholder survey research in all regions of the world. http://www.GlobeScan.com. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) , established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. http://www.unep.org. Methodology: In total 20,238 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between 19 June and 17 August, 2009. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In 6 of the 19 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.2 to 4.8 percent, 19 times out of 20. Question wording: 1. Currently there is a debate about the economic impact of possible government actions to address climate change, including investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transportation. Do you think these types of government investments in addressing climate change hurt the economy or are they good for the economy- CODE ONE. 01 – Hurt the economy 02 – Are good for the economy VOLUNTEERED 99 – DK/NA 2. Do you support or oppose the government making investments to address climate change even if this hurts the economy- CODE ONE. 01 – Support 02 – Oppose VOLUNTEERED 99 – DK/NA
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