Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Climate change: a global mandate

A poll of citizens of eleven different countries has found a strong global mandate for action on climate change in both developing and developed nations:

About half of the respondents wanted governments to play a major role in curbing emissions, but only a quarter said their leaders were doing enough.

In developing countries, a majority of people were prepared to make "lifestyle changes" to reduce climate change.

The citizens of developed nations, who could more afford to make lifestyle changes, were more selfish - but even then just under half supported it. And 43% of all respondents rated climate change as a bigger problem than the global financial crisis, even though it was getting more serious during the survey period. Overall, there's a strong mandate from the people of the world for their governments to act, and act now.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is moving in the opposite direction. Given the strong feelings elsewhere in the world, this will inevitably have diplomatic, trade, and tourism consequences. But our Prime Minister would rather complain about other countries efforts to reduce emissions than make any effort to reduce our own. Which is simply going to mark him as obstructive and make the cost on the rest of us even higher.