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A new survey shows that the majority of people are willing to do their part to help the environment, even if it isn't easy

A new poll by BBC News provides perhaps the most comprehensive to date look at the current level of public awareness of environmental issues and public initiative to make sacrifices in hopes of fixing them.

The large study surveyed 22,000 people in 21 countries, including many in the two largest CO2 polluters, the U.S. and China.  Four out of five people stated they would probably be ready to make lifestyle changes to reduce emissions.

Taxes were a bit stickier issue.  Taxes on oil and coal enjoyed a smaller base of support, but still represented the majority opinion, with 50% for them and 44% opposed.  Many of the opposed stated that they would change their opinion to support if it could be guaranteed that the funds would be diverted to finance alternative energy or alternative energy research.

The total figures were that 83% of people either were ready or were probably ready to make sacrifices in their daily lives to help the environment.

People in the U.S. and Europe agreed that fuel prices would have to rise in order to get people to lower their consumption, as they are stuck in their ways.

Italy and Russia did not agree, as these countries are already experiencing dramatically fossil fuel costs.

South Korea, India, and Nigeria also showed smaller margins of support for higher energy costs, though the majority of responders still felt that higher costs would be needed to lower consumption.

Interestingly the Chinese were the most willing to support taxes on polluting fossil fuels.  A whopping 85% of Chinese surveyed supported taxes on fossil fuels to reduce reliance on them.

While experiencing many recent quality concerns, including tainted cancer drugs, China has been rapidly becoming a world leader in many technology sectors.  The results of this survey demonstrate that despite past problems the Chinese people have a strong desire for their country to develop into an environmental leader.

In total 22,182 people were interviewed in the following countries:

UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt,France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, thePhilippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

Interviews occurred either face to face or via telephone between May 29 and July 26, 2007.

Increased public awareness can be attributed to a broad array of sources.  One is the mass media -- news channels have been increasing their environmental issue coverage.  Another source of awareness is simple observation. People see pictures of rainforests stripped bare and it becomes blatantly obvious the need to protect our planet.  The U.N. also can take some credit for its constant climate research, as well as research into other environmental topics, such as deforestation and biofuels

A little credit even can go to recent Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Al Gore, whose movie "An Inconvenient Truth" brought an increased public interest in environmental issues.

Regardlessly of who convinced these people that helping the environment was a good idea, that is the conclusion they have come to.  It appears that the majority of people finally are ready and eager for environmental change -- politicians listen up, these are thoughts of your constituents.


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RE: The Chinese Position
By smitty3268 on 11/6/2007 3:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying it isn't important, I just don't see how you can say it is the single most important factor when Europe has probably the 2nd highest living standards and some of the highest energy prices. It seems like that would be proof of the opposite.


RE: The Chinese Position
By TomZ on 11/6/2007 4:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Europe might otherwise have the highest standard of living, except for their slightly-socialist leaning that allows such policies as the high fuel taxes. But I think many in Europe accept this as a reasonable compromise.


RE: The Chinese Position
By masher2 (blog) on 11/6/2007 4:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
> "Europe has probably the 2nd highest living standards and some of the highest energy prices"

Europe doesn't have some of the highest energy prices in general. It has high gasoline prices. The price Europe pays for oil, coal, natural gas, and electricity generated by nuclear and hydroelectric are on par with the rest of the world.

Furthermore, Europe's standard of living is high today because of centuries of investment in infrastructure, education, and other areas. Comparing a nation like France to one that, 100 years ago had almost no dams, universities, factories, and almost no roads at all is a bit misleading. That historical investment-- made long ago-- is still paying dividends.

But today, that investment is not just being spent, it's being squandered. To see how Europe (and the US, for that matter) will be in the future, one must examine a different metric -- economic growth. And here, one sees the cracks. European economic growth is microscopic, compared to nations like China, Russia, Qatar, Dubai-- all nations with overall energy costs below the world average, incidently.


RE: The Chinese Position
By smitty3268 on 11/6/2007 6:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
European economic growth is microscopic, compared to nations like China, Russia, Qatar, Dubai

Still, that's like saying the economic growth of a company like Microsoft isn't as large as the economic growth of a startup company with 10 employees. It's a lot easier for the new guy to expand.

quote:
The price Europe pays for oil, coal, natural gas, and electricity generated by nuclear and hydroelectric are on par with the rest of the world.

Well yes, it's a global market. Everyone except the producers tend to pay a similar price before taxes. I thought you meant the after-tax price of energy, or does Europe only tax gas and not the other forms?

quote:
Furthermore, Europe's standard of living is high today because of centuries of investment in infrastructure, education, and other areas. Comparing a nation like France to one that, 100 years ago had almost no dams, universities, factories, and almost no roads at all is a bit misleading. That historical investment-- made long ago-- is still paying dividends.

I think that was probably my point, that history and the general state of a countries social, political, and economic systems mean far more than the price of energy. But if you take that out, (and that is an awful, awful lot to take out), then all other things being even I might agree with you. It's just that all other things aren't ever even, so that kind of comparison isn't very useful IMHO.


RE: The Chinese Position
By Keeir on 11/6/2007 6:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
Not to agree or disagree but

quote:
I think that was probably my point, that history and the general state of a countries social, political, and economic systems mean far more than the price of energy.


Alot of the current state of things has to do with the long term cost of energy in the country. IE, One of the main reason why cities are generally located on water ways and civilization generally followed sea coasts is that the cost of transportation is significantly lower along rivers/seas that on land.

I might say something more along the lines of

The average cost of energy production is the most significant factor in level of material consumption and trade in a society.

The marginal cost of additional energy production is the most significant factor in rate of growth in material consumption of a society.

"Standard of Living" is something that relies on more than how many hours you work or how many Wiis are connected to your TV.

Oh and I oppose punative taxes on energy production. Who ever discovered the "next" energy technology and brings it to market stands to make billions if not trillions of dollars. Thats already a powerful economic incentive.


RE: The Chinese Position
By Ringold on 11/7/2007 2:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
countries social, political, and economic systems mean far more than the price of energy.


I did say social capital to cover my own bases at least.

quote:
Still, that's like saying the economic growth of a company like Microsoft isn't as large as the economic growth of a startup company with 10 employees. It's a lot easier for the new guy to expand.


This is where Europe presently fails -- horribly. It's a false assumption that simply because Europe has established enterprise that there is no room to grow. America has even a more vibrant "full" economy (as private enterprise makes up a larger percentage of GDP), and yet a large percentage of workers in the United States work for firms that are roughly in their early or start-up years. Almost all job growth in the US since the 80s has been due to small business. Europe, on the other hand, has very limited venture capital spending, very few young start up firms, and very few young workers working at these firms. The difference comes down to innovating with business practices, models, products and services -- American's are doing it, foreign countries are doing, Europe is by and large not. This plays in to the European socialist view of profit somehow being dirty and that labor is exploitation, and generally recognized, along with much needed further labor market liberalization and social spending cuts, as one of the critical problems facing Europe going forward.

As far as Europe and energy costs go, I was under the impression that Europe's end consumers paid higher rates than American's do due to regulated markets and local monopolies. It also doesn't help that Russia has Europe by the collective coconuts, though that may not mean anything for day to day prices.


RE: The Chinese Position
By Hacp on 11/9/2007 11:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
Remember World War 2? Europe had to build from scratch since most of the infrastructure had collapsed.


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