UNFCCC: World leaders face big expectations, weak support

Thu, 2008-11-27 11:35Richard Littlemore
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UNFCCC: World leaders face big expectations, weak support

Half the respondents to an 11-country climate change survey want government action - especially direct investment in alternative energy - but only one quarter of the people believe governments a making the efforts they should.

The Climate Confidence Monitor is a project of the HSBC Climate Project, and this year it surveyed 12,000 people in developing world countries like Brazil, China, India and Mexico, and in wealth leaders like the Canada, France, The U.K. and the U.S. Perhaps embarrassingly, the survey found that residents in the developing world are very ready to make lifestyle changes to defend against climate change, while the majority of people in the richer countries are just not interested.

The guidance for world leaders, convening next week in Poznan, Poland for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is that people want action, and they would prefer specific and direct investment and support for renewable energy projects.

The complication is that people tend NOT to support financial instruments like carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs.

This is a challenge, given that such programs are likely essential in the quest to nudge the market away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. But most people - in all countries surveyed - appear not to understand the workings or usefulness of such policies. Or perhaps their faith in government has merely fallen to a point that they are skeptical of ANY action that is not completely transparent.

Regardless, this is a worthy set-up for the Poznan conference - one in the long series that gave rise in 1997 to the Kyoto Accord. This will be the last conference in which the American delegation is being directed by the Bush administration, which suggests there may be little real action but significantly more promise of future movement.

The DeSmogBlog will be on the ground for the second week of the two-week event. The first week tends to be taken up with technical talks among bureaucrats and support staff. The real politicking and policy making begins when the political leaders arrive in the last five days. We will start checking in more regularly in the next few days and then get to blogging full-time from Dec. 8 through 12.

If anyone spots any of the usual denier suspects jetting east to disrupt this event, please feel free to email me at rlittlemore@hoggan.com.