Developing World Sees Fear and Opportunity in Climate Change

Developing World Sees Fear and Opportunity in Climate Change

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Aleatoric Consonance

Climate change is a top concern globally, but the worry is even more acute in developing countries, which are also more optimistic that it can be prevented, according to the latest Climate Confidence Monitor report from HSBC.

The fourth annual survey of more than 15,000 people from 15 countries revealed that most believe the business community must take a larger role in addressing climate change. Those from emerging markets also perceived climate investment to be a path to prosperity and job creation, a view met with less optimism by those in developed countries.

"Emerging markets are likely to see the largest share of investment in low-carbon innovation -- possibly as much as 70 percent of the total," Lord Nicholas Stern, special advisor to HSBC's Group Chairman on Economic Development and Climate Change, wrote in the report. "The 'green race' has begin; and it will be innovative, creative, and productive."

After dipping last year, climate change was again named a top concern along with global economic stability and terrorism for respondents worldwide. Those in Asia, particularly Vietnam and Hong Kong, where 30 percent and 25 percent of survey participants, respectively, named climate change as their top concern. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents from the U.S., U.K., and France said climate change was their No. 1 issue.

Interestingly, 64 percent of Chinese respondents say they are making a significant effort to address climate change. Just 23 percent of U.K. respondents, and 20 percent of U.S. respondents said the same. This mirrored previous years' results.

There is also a big difference in the level of optimism felt over whether climate change can be stopped. Most respondents from developed nations believe climate change is inevitable. In comparison, about one in four people from Vietnam, China and India believe climate change can be prevented.

Developed countries were more likely to feel that business investment to address climate change was needed. According to HSBC, the investment has already begin and will continue growing: The low-carbon energy market is forecast to triple to US$2.2 trillion by 2020.

"The results of the Climate Confidence Monitor 2010 show that people around the globe believe that now is the time for business to recognize the opportunities and act upon them," the report concluded. "And finally, if we (business, civil society and government) can simplify and amplify our messages, we will give more coherent direction to those who are already doing what they can, and reach those who do not yet appreciate the urgency of the challenge." 

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Aleatoric Consonance.