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Waking Up to Global Warming, Many Ready to Change Lifestyle

by Gopalan on November 5, 2007 at 11:19 AM
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Waking Up to Global Warming, Many Ready to Change Lifestyle

As global warming looms larger and larger on the horizon, people the world over are willing to make personal sacrifices and settle for reduced energy consumption, according to a BBC poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.

Four out of five people say they are prepared to change their lifestyle, even in the US and China, the world's two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.

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Three quarters would back energy taxes if the cash was used to find new sources of energy, or boost efficiency.

Chinese respondents were more positive than any others about energy taxes.

BBC environment reporter Matt McGrath says the poll suggests that in many countries people are more willing than their governments to contemplate serious changes to their lifestyles to combat global warming.
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According to the survey, 83% of respondents throughout the world agree that individuals will definitely or probably have to make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases they produce.

The poll also suggests that a large majority of people in each individual country surveyed believe that sacrifices will be necessary.

In almost all countries in Europe, and in the US, most people believe the cost of fuels that contribute most to climate change will have to increase.

The only exceptions were Italy and Russia, where significant numbers of people believe that increases in the price of energy will not be necessary.

The pollsters suggest that high energy costs in both countries could have put people off the idea of increasing prices even further.

Attitudes to rising energy costs in Asia and Africa are more varied.

In China and Indonesia, large majorities believe that higher energy costs are necessary, but in South Korea and India majorities in favour of higher prices are much smaller.

And in Nigeria, 52% of the respondents did not believe that higher fuel costs would be necessary to combat global warming.

Opinions are divided on proposals to increase taxes on fossil fuels.

Worldwide, only 50% are in favour and 44% are opposed.

The Chinese are the most enthusiastic when it comes to energy taxes: 85% of those polled are in favour, 24 percentage points more than in the next most-supportive countries.

In the rest of the world, only narrow majorities - and sometimes minorities - favour higher energy taxes.

However, when people opposed to energy taxes are asked whether their opinion would change if the revenue from the taxes were used to increase energy efficiency or develop cleaner fuel, large majorities are produced in every country in favour of higher taxes.

And when those opposed to higher taxes are asked whether they would change their minds if other taxes were reduced in order to keep their total tax burden the same, the survey again discovered large majorities in every country in favour of higher green taxes.

"This poll clearly shows that people are much more ready to endure their share of the burden than most politicians grant," said Doug Miller, director of Globescan, the polling company that conducted the survey on behalf of the BBC.

Globescan interviewed 22,182 people in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone between 29 May 29 and 26 July 2007.

Source: Medindia
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