Global citizens concerned about climate - poll

2015-06-07 16:46
Climate change (Shutterstock)

Climate change (Shutterstock)

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Paris - The widest global effort yet to gauge citizens' views on climate change showed 79% to be "very concerned" about its effects, but less than half support a carbon tax to curb emissions, organisers said on Sunday.

Results of the day-long consultation held in 79 countries on Saturday were posted on the website of the initiative dubbed World Wide Views on Climate and Energy.

Next week, they will be put to climate negotiators meeting in Bonn, Germany ahead of a year-end United Nations conference in Paris, where nations have undertaken to sign a new world pact to curb global warming.

Responses to a multiple-choice questionnaire showed that 71% of the 10 000-odd participants believe the UN negotiations process has not done enough to tackle climate change.

Nineteen percent of people said they were "moderately concerned" about the effects of climate change, and fewer than two percent were not at all concerned.

A large 63% believes the Paris agreement should "do whatever it takes" to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels - the UN goal.

When it comes to practical measures, however, the responses are more nuanced.

Only 16% support the introduction of a tax on carbon for all countries, 42% for all countries but with rising costs for those not reducing emissions, and 30% a tax linked to a country's level of development.

One in ten was against a tax, which many green groups consider as the best way to turn the tide against the burning of fossil fuels.

Forty-five percent of respondents said the world should stop exploring for fossil fuel reserves, but nearly a quarter believed it should continue.

From Senegal to China, Madagascar, Brazil and Japan, 100 debates were held with people from a cross-section of society in 79 countries.

Organisers included the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which comprises 195 nations in negotiations for the new, global pact, and France, the host of December's Conference of Parties.

Scientists warn that on current trends, Earth is on track for double the targeted 2 C limit, or more - a recipe for catastrophic droughts, fiercer storms and other extreme weather events.

"I hope that decision-makers will find this initiative an important echo chamber of citizens' concerns, hopes and aspirations for the kind of world they want for themselves and their children," Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, one of the organisers of the event, said on Saturday.

Read more on:    climate change

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