PETALING JAYA, 7 Dec 2009: Concern over climate change has decreased in Malaysia in the midst of fears over the global recession, an internet-based survey involving 12 countries said.
The HSBC Climate Confidence Monitor 2009 found that Malaysians were more concerned with pandemic diseases such as the spread of influenza A(H1N1); global economic stability; terrorism; violence in everyday life; and social breakdown.
Climate change was ranked six out of nine “important world issues” that 1,000 Malaysians were surveyed on. Only natural disasters and global poverty were ranked lower than climate change in the list of issues Malaysians were most concerned about.
The online survey’s findings on Malaysia was in tandem with its global findings where 1,000 respondents each in the 12 countries surveyed were less concerned than in previous years over climate change because of the global recession. However, climate change was still seen as a high priority for public spending in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the US.
Image mapping out progressive depletion of ozone over
Antartica. Blue and purple areas have the least ozone.
(© NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
The study, in its third year, was released by HSBC on 2 Nov 2009. It aims to decipher consumer attitudes towards climate change and what the priority was with regard to spending public money.
The survey also found that optimism in our ability to solve climate change has declined sharply in most Asian countries, including in Malaysia, although Asian countries were more optimistic than the global community.
The survey found that 67% of the 1,000 respondents surveyed in Malaysia believe it is crucial for governments to reach a new global deal on carbon emissions. In fact, except for the US, the majority in every country that was surveyed believed a new global deal on emissions was critical.
Large majorities also support meeting or exceeding carbon emission targets, the poll said.
A new climate change treaty is being hammered out at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen from today until 18 Dec 2009 for countries to commit towards meaningful reductions in carbon emissions. COP15 is the next most important international agreement on climate change after the less than satisfactory 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
“The research shows that people worldwide want governments to work together to take positive action. It sends a clear message to governments,” said HSBC Bank Malaysia executive director and deputy chief executive Jon Addis.
Expectations of COP15
Another poll report published by the Danish Board of Technology on 14 Nov 2009 also found that citizens worldwide expect a fair deal out of COP15.
The World Wide Views on Global Warming, involving 4,000 citizens from 38 countries including China, India and the US, outlined nine policy recommendations for COP15 negotiators:
- Make a deal at COP15.
- Keep temperature increase below two degree Celsius.
- Industrialised countries should reduce emissions by 25% to 40% or more by 2020.
- Fast-growing economies should also reduce emissions by 2020.
- Low-income developing countries should limit emissions.
- Give high priority to an international financial mechanism.
- Punish non-complying countries.
- Make technology available to everyone.
- Strengthen or supplement international institutions.
A crack (lower left of pic) on the Thwaites Ice Tongue calved an
approximately 82km x 62km wide iceberg, named B-22, into
the southern Amundsen Sea (© NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
At the same time, scientist concluded in the Copenhagen Diagnosis that the impact of climate change was already occurring at the high end and even beyond the expectations of only a few years ago.
The report said the Arctic ice was disappearing at an alarming rate, global ice-sheets were melting faster than previous predictions, and future rises in sea levels was being projected in meters rather than centimeters.
“We have already almost exceeded the safe level of emissions that would ensure a reasonably secure climate future…A binding treaty is needed urgently to ensure unilateral action among the high emitters,” said one of the report’s authors, Prof Matthew England, who is also an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, in a press statement.
The report also warned that global temperatures could increase by as high as seven degree Celsius by 2100 if significant efforts were not made to reduce carbon emissions now.
It stressed that global emissions must decline rapidly within the next five to 10 years if we are to limit global warming within two degree Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
For other related stories, see In the Spotlight: Climate Change
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