As delegates from across the world begin negotiations at the Copenhagen summit, a survey by The Nielsen Company and Oxford University Institute of Climate Change reveals that while Indians were “very concerned” about climate change, globally, concern on the topic has declined.
According to the survey conducted in October 2009, concern for climate change in India has increased by 1% in the last two years, with 54% Indian consumers expressing deep concern about climate change. In India, a majority of consumers believe that the main responsibility for solving climate change should lie with the government.
In October 2009, 37% Indians said that governments should restrict companies’ emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
In encouraging signs for the build-up to a future market for environment-friendly product segments, 28% Indians felt that there should be major government-led initiatives for research into scientific and technological solutions like low-emission cars and renewable energy.
Nearly three out of every 10 Indians said that there should be a change to use of more energy-efficient bulbs, fixtures and electrical appliances to combat climate change. More than a quarter of Indian consumers believe in recycling consumer waste and saving electricity to address issues of climate change and global warming.
Indians also believe that the government should invest in improving public transport systems (23%) and that there should be government incentives (tax breaks or subsidies 22%) to individuals for good, less or non-polluting behaviour.
The findings are part of an annual survey which measures consumer attitudes towards the environment and climate change, trust of information sources and climate change solutions among 27,548 online consumers in 54 countries.
Globally, 37% consumers said they were very concerned about climate change. This is lower than consumer concerns over climate change in 2007 (41%). The highest level of concern was expressed in Latin America (57%) and Asia Pacific (42%). However, North America lagged behind global regions with only a quarter of respondents saying they were very concerned about climate change.
Thirty-five out of the 54 countries surveyed recorded a decline in their concern for climate change, led by Poland (23%) and Canada (22%). Climate change concern also fell by 18% in Portugal and 17% in Taiwan, Spain and Sweden.
“The global recession and economic woes temporarily knocked the climate change issue off the top-line agenda, but as the recession is now beginning to recede, we expect the Copenhagen summit may push this important issue to the forefront again,” said Jonathan Banks, business insights director Europe, The Nielsen Company.
The Nielsen/Oxford University research shows that concern and awareness for climate change and the environment peaked in 2007 at the time of the Live Earth concerts and the launch of Al Gore’s acclaimed documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.
The nations most concerned about climate change are Philippines (78%), Indonesia (66%), Thailand and Mexico (62%).
“These are countries which have experienced direct effects of climate change through freak weather conditions and natural disasters,” said Banks.
Concern for climate change in Indonesia and Brazil has decreased by 10% and 18% respectively.