People in developing economies exhibit the greatest concern, commitment and optimism towards the problem of climate change and in developed economies the greatest indifference, reluctance and fatalism, according to HSBC Climate Confidence Index (PDF).
Overall, the survey reveals that citizens of China and India are most optimistic that the problem of climate change can be overcome, while those in France, Germany and the UK are least optimistic that a solution will be found.
The index also highlights the emergence of so-called ‘green rejection’ in the developed world – a rejection that climate change is a problem, of solutions to it and of the institutions proposing them. Green rejection is strongest in the UK and Germany, where respondents were among the least engaged and optimistic about the challenge. In the US, respondents were by far the most confident and optimistic of all the developed economies surveyed.
The research, based on a sample of 9,000 people in nine countries and across four continents, also demonstrates that:
- Climate change is having a significant impact on public opinion in the developing countries surveyed. Around 60 percent of respondents registered a high level of concern in China, India, Mexico and Brazil, compared with only 22 percent in the UK and 26 percent in Germany,
- With regard to whose responsibility it is to tackle the problem, a clear majority of all respondents across countries and age groups – 68 percent – believe that governments should be playing the leading role, compared with NGOs, companies and individuals. However only 33 percent felt that governments play this role today, and
- People’s assessment of their commitment to tackling climate is higher in developing economies. Around 47 percent of people indicated high levels of personal commitment to combating climate change in India and Brazil, compared with only 19 percent in the UK.