Survey: Public Support For Tough Climate Deal Declines

  • Date: 27/11/15
  • Matt McGrath, BBC News

Public support for a strong global deal on climate change has declined, according to a poll carried out in 20 countries. Only four now have majorities in favour of their governments setting ambitious targets at a global conference in Paris.

In a similar poll before the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, eight countries had majorities favouring tough action.

The poll has been provided to the BBC by research group GlobeScan.

Just under half of all those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem this year, compared with 63% in 2009.

The findings will make sober reading for global political leaders, who will gather in Paris next week for the start of the United Nations climate conference, known as COP21.

It’s being billed as the best opportunity in six years to achieve a significant advance on tackling rising temperatures.

In 2009, in Copenhagen, the leaders failed to deliver a strong outcome despite widespread public expectation that a deal was needed.

The BBC asked the GlobeScan research group what their long-term polling suggested about public opinion on climate negotiations

Around 1,000 people in each of 20 countries were questioned about their attitudes. The survey was carried out in January and February of 2015.

Declining support

The number rating climate change as a very serious issue in richer countries declined significantly from 2009, while support for strong action at the Paris conference has only grown in three of the 20 countries polled.

Canada, France, Spain and the UK are the only four with majorities in favour of their governments taking a leading role.

All told an average of 42% of those polled want their government to play a leadership role in setting ambitious targets, while another 41% want their government to take a more moderate approach and support only gradual action.

“The public are less concerned about climate change, and when you put that in the context of the climate conference in Paris, the findings show less support for an ambitious and binding agreement at a global level than there was ahead of COP15 in 2009 in Copenhagen,” said Lionel Bellier, from GlobeScan.

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