Azara Blog: People allegedly willing to make sacrifices to address climate change

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Date published: 2007/11/05

The BBC says:

Most people are ready to make personal sacrifices to address climate change, according to a BBC poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.

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

Opinion was split over tax rises on oil and coal - 44% against, 50% in favour.

Support would rise if the cash was used to boost efficiency and find new energy sources, the poll suggested.

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.

Overall, 83% of respondents throughout the world agreed that individuals would definitely or probably have to make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases they produce.

In almost all countries in Europe, and in the US, most people said they believed the cost of fuels that contribute most to climate change would have to increase.
Large majorities in China said higher energy costs were necessary - although the BBC's Dan Griffiths, in Beijing, pointed out that people interviewed over the telephone were unlikely to contradict official policy.

It's a survey, so immediately suspect. International surveys are particularly difficult to do. And even the BBC admits that the results in China are almost certainly bogus. The citizens of the world have been pounded with dire warnings in the media about the end of the world because of climate change, for a decade and more, so know what the "on message" result should be. In a survey a fair fraction of people are going to give the answer they think the interviewer wants. And what counts is not what people will tell the BBC in a survey, but what they do in elections. Labour used to regularly top opinion surveys back in the early 1990s, but lost the 1992 election (many people evidently did not want to admit to the pollsters to being Tory voters, since the Tories were obviously so dreadful).

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