Survey: Climate Change Concern is Waning, Especially in the UK

Global banking firm HSBC says it has polled the world, asking nations and their citizens how they feel about climate change, and the results are in: People in the United Kingdom are relatively OK with it.

”Scientists, environmental campaigners, and politicians are constantly warning of the dangers of global warming,” says a report from the London-based HSBC, “but it appears the message is failing to make an impact, because according to the worldwide HSBC Climate Confidence Monitor 2009, people in the UK worry least about climate change and how we respond to it.”

The survey polled consumers from 12 countries -- Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the UK, and the United States -- on their attitudes and behavior regarding the threat of climate change. When participants were asked how strongly they agreed with the statement “Climate change and how we respond to it are among the biggest issues I worry about today,” the UK ranked lowest of all, directly below the United States, Australia, and Canada respectively. Consumers in Mexico were in strongest agreement with the statement, followed by Hong Kong and Brazil.

According to HSBC, the people of UK also ranked poorly regarding action taken against global warming. Of the 12 countries surveyed, the UK citizens were second from bottom in the rankings for low carbon choices made to lower carbon footprints and tackle climate change, just above the United States, with China ranking the highest.

On the question of public spending to tackle climate change, the majority of UK consumers indicated that providing health care and fighting crime should be a higher priority.

Anticipating the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December to discuss a new international agreement on emissions reduction before the Kyoto Protocol expires, the survey asked the people of the world how much importance they placed on a global deal being achieved. Once again, the UK ranked near the bottom of the list, ahead of only Canada and the United States, respectively.

HSBC notes that, globally, concern over climate change appears to be falling. The firm’s Climate Confidence Monitor 2009 shows an overall drop of eight percent among consumers in the last year and 12 per cent in developing countries since 2007. For more information and results from the HSBC survey, go to www.hsbc.com/1/2/climateconfidencemonitor.

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