New Survey Finds US and 37 Other Countries Demand More Aggressive Climate Change Action than Congress or Copenhagen Envision
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New Survey Finds US and 37 Other Countries Demand More Aggressive Climate Change Action than Congress or Copenhagen Envision BOSTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first-ever deliberative global survey of citizen opinion, World Wide Views on Global Warming (WWViews) has found that people from diverse backgrounds in the US and worldwide overwhelmingly want faster action, deeper GHG emissions cuts and stronger enforcement than either US climate legislation proposals or Copenhagen treaty conference preparations are currently contemplating. Among the survey's findings: -- 90% of U. S. participants say it is urgent to reach a tough, new agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December and not punt to subsequent meetings; -- 89% said by 2020 emissions should be cut 25-40% below 1990 levels (the Kerry Boxer Senate bill would cut US emissions 20% below 2005 levels); -- 71% want nations that fail to meet their obligations under a new agreement to be penalized severely or significantly; -- 69% believe the price of fossil fuels should be increased. These views were echoed across 37 other countries on six continents. Global results showed participants wanted more aggressive action than their delegates to Copenhagen envision, including: -- strict targets for keeping global warming within 2 degrees Celsius (half of participants, especially in countries hardest hit by climate change, want measures to hold temperatures at the current level or even bring them down to pre-industrial levels); -- fairer and more proportionate burden sharing, including 2020 emissions reduction targets for fast- growing economies like India, China and Brazil, and low-income developing countries; -- sanctions against countries that do not live up to their emission reduction commitments; -- strong new international financial mechanisms and institutions to support these goals. By contrast, in current policy negotiations these goals are either much less ambitious or absent altogether. Preparations for Copenhagen and Congressional debate on climate change legislation are both following a similar pattern of lowering ambitions and expectations, focusing on limited areas of current agreement and incremental steps, and deferring more contentious issues of targets, timetables, funding and enforcement until later. "We are hearing from climate policymakers that it will take more time to do things right, that we have to meet people where they are instead of imposing radical reforms from above," said Dr. Richard Sclove, the US advisor to WWViews. "But these results show the people are way ahead of the policymakers. If Congress and Copenhagen delegates want to act in accordance with citizen views, they have to do far more and go far faster, not scale back and slow down." WWViews gathered its data from daylong citizen deliberations in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, as well as in cities throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. It showed citizens of all 38 countries, even low-income ones, are willing to take responsibility for lowering emissions, and to pay to do so. Of the 38 countries, China's citizens were least inclined to introduce 2020 targets for fast-growing economies, yet even so, 45% support it and 52% support limiting emissions growth. "Our deliberative method yielded very different results from polls, which purport to show much more diffident attitudes to climate change, and even some skepticism about it. But I'd argue our data is much more accurate " said Dr. Richard Worthington, WWViews U.S. coordinator. "For one thing, for a dozen countries [the Maldives, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, Norway, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Uganda and Vietnam], our data is the only data, because we worked in places so far excluded from international polling on climate change. For another, we elicited citizen opinion through informed, daylong deliberations, not through knee-jerk answers to carefully circumscribed questions." WWViews is the first ever-global "citizen consultation," using a citizen deliberation methodology distinct from ordinary quantitative surveying or polling. Polls on climate change ask a random sampling of respondents one or two general questions about one's prior opinion on climate change and what one's national government should do. WWViews gathered people with diverse backgrounds and views, excluding climate change experts and those representing institutions with vested interests in climate policy. It gave participants balanced expert information in advance, based on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report, then allowed them a day of deliberation together, after which they voted on what delegates assembling from around the world in Copenhagen should do. WWViews was initiated and coordinated by the Danish Board of Technology, the Danish Parliament's office of technology assessment (www.tekno.dk), working with partners worldwide. US partners included Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes; Colorado School of Mines; the Boston Museum of Science; Boston University; the Brookfield Institute; Georgia Institute of Technology; the Loka Institute; and Pomona College. www.wwviews.org SOURCE World Wide Views on Global Warming Stephen Kent, KentCom LLC, email@example.com, +1-914-589-5988, for World Wide Views on Global Warming