Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 28, 2007

Put biodiversity at centre of climate debate, says new

A fascinating picture has emerged from a unique survey of 1,000 climate decision-makers and influencers from across 105 countries conducted by GlobeScan, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Bank in the two weeks leading up to the Bali Climate Conference.Key findings include:

* High emphasis on the protection of biodiversity to help guide climate actions; relatively low emphasis on cost effectiveness.
* Bio-fuels produced from food crops like corn have the least potential of 18 technologies for reducing carbon emissions over the next 25 years.
* Decision makers expect half of their organizations’ reductions of carbon emissions over the next decade to come from energy demand management or efficiency improvements and not carbon capture.
* While most decision makers rate climate change as a key factor influencing their professional activities, only 27% think a post-Kyoto agreement by 2009 is likely or very likely.

Unlike public opinion polls, the survey focuses on the views of professionals in a position to make or influence large decisions in their organizations and society. This focus, together with the survey’s large global sample, spread across all regions of the world and from governments at all levels, scientific institutions, business, and civil society, makes the survey unique.

“This landmark survey brings good and bad news for climate negotiations,” said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of the World Conservation Union. “It is encouraging that sustainable development and biodiversity rate highest in importance for climate action, but this is not always reflected in the climate negotiations”.

IUCN Deputy Director General Bill Jackson said: “I am pleased that IUCN’s Commissions were important participants in this survey because it helps to show what the world’s most credible scientists are concerned about when it comes to climate change.”

Some of the other top-line findings of this survey of senior officials from governments at all levels, scientists, and business and civil society leaders, include:

– More than six in 10 (63%) report that climate is one of the top three factors affecting their organizations today

– On average, two thirds (66%) of the resources their organizations currently allocate to climate is directed at mitigation (i.e., reducing emissions) and one third (34%) to adapting to the effects of climate change. In five years they expect adaptation to increase somewhat, changing this ratio to 60-40.

– In reducing their organization’s carbon emissions over the next 10 years, respondents expect half the reductions (48%) to come from energy demand management and efficiency improvements, a third (35%) to come from lower-carbon energy sources, and 18 percent from carbon capture and storage.

– Respondents look to their national government (92%) ahead of global institutions (76%) or more local-level governments (71%) for the public policies and leadership that their organizations need in order to implement climate solutions.

– When rating the potential role of 18 specific technologies “in reducing atmospheric carbon over the next 25 years without unacceptable side effects,” majorities give high marks only to solar, wind and co-generation (combined heat and electricity). The lowest rating is given to so-called first generation bio-fuels from food crops.

– Asked to rate various possible components of an adequate post-2012 global agreement, strong majorities give high ratings to inclusion of all major carbon-emitting countries (92% essential or important), commitment by wealthy countries to provide aid/technology transfer to assist developing countries meet targets (84%), legally binding targets for each signatory country (77%), and different types of commitments based on countries’ stage of development (76%).

– Respondents also make clear that climate actions must be taken within the framework of sustainable development (87% important), ensuring the protection of biodiversity (78%), appropriate burden sharing (75%), energy security (75%), and setting an agreed maximum carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere (74%).

– Respondents are neither pessimistic nor optimistic that a post-2012 global agreement will be concluded by the UN target of December 2009 needed to ensure a smooth transition.



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