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28 October 2010

Emerging markets defy growing climate pessimism

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Survey suggests worldwide optimism about our ability to prevent global warming is plunging, with China and India the only markets challenging the doom and gloom

Global optimism that climate change can be tackled has fallen markedly over the past three years, although future "mega-polluters" such as China and India are among those most confident that solutions can be developed.

That is the conclusion of the fourth annual HSBC Climate Confidence Monitor, published yesterday, which reveals that climate change remains one of the top three global concerns, along with economic stability and terrorism.

The survey of about 15,000 people revealed that those believing climate change can be brought under control has fallen 30 per cent since 2007, with the UK and France the most pessimistic of the 15 countries polled.

However, China and India provided some cause for optimism, with more than half of respondents from the two emerging superpowers ranking climate change as one of the biggest issues they worried about, and about a third of people claiming that climate change could be tackled.

By some predictions, China's emissions alone could outstrip the EU's by 2020, but the HSBC survey suggested that along with India, the country would be supportive of market mechanisms such as a carbon tax or emissions trading.

Interestingly, only 20 per cent of global respondents thought those who should be addressing climate change are doing what is needed, with those in the developed world placing the blame firmly on businesses.

Respondents in France, Germany and the UK all strongly indicated that business should be doing more, although India and China again offered a different outlook, with the majority arguing that NGOs and individuals were responsible for leading the response to climate change.


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