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EWEA's Opinion

EWEA's opinion

05.08.2009

New international poll shows climate change should be a higher priority

People concerned that some governments are not paying enough attention to potential catastrophes which could be caused by unchecked climate change if the world does not agree to a new post-Kyoto pact in Copenhagen in December should take some solace in a new international public opinion poll.

Conducted in 19 nations that account for close to two-thirds of Earth’s population, the WorldPublicOpinion.org survey shows 73% of participants believe their national government should give climate change mitigation a much higher priority.

Indeed, the poll shows majorities in 15 of the nations think their government should put a higher priority on addressing climate change than it does now. Results from the survey, which canvassed 18,578 respondents, show participants in the nations with the highest greenhouse gas emissions – China, the US and Russia – all want more action.
The survey results note that on average across all nations polled, 60% want climate change to get a higher priority, 12% want a lower priority, and 18% think the current priority is about right.

In explaining the poll results, Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, said many political leaders express worries that their citizens aren’t really ready to deal with the hardships associated with addressing climate change. He added, however, that “most people around the world appear to be impatient that their government is not doing enough to address the problem of climate change.”

WorldPublicOpinion.org describes itself as a collaborative project involving research centres from around the world. Managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, the margins of error range from 3 to 4%. The survey was conducted in the different nations between 4 April and 9 July.

The poll results, which were released last week, also show that the largest majorities wanting a higher priority placed on climate mitigation are in South Korea (81%), Mexico (79%), Britain (77%), France (76%), and Nigeria (70%).

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) believes that the poll results are not only interesting, but also that they can be a useful tool in keeping concerns about run-away global warming at the top of the political agenda while international negotiators try and come up with a new treaty to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.

That’s because the poll results clearly show that, at least in some nations, citizens are out in front of their politicians when it comes to wanting climate change mitigation efforts implemented.

EWEA understands the tendency for some politicians to look after narrow national self interests before dealing with expensive global plans that essentially require a new green energy revolution if humankind, with its expanding population, is to continue to thrive.
But science has clearly and repeatedly proven that our global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak in the next decade before beginning a rapid decline.

For that to happen, EWEA adds, a beefed-up emissions-reduction treaty needs to be reached in Copenhagen by politicians who are fully prepared for a new era that  embraces wind power as a key non-polluting, affordable, local and sustainable source of energy that can help lead people to a better and healthier future.

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