Citizens in richer countries back climate help for vulnerable, poll shows

Most respondents said the transition to a low-carbon economy would only be successful if it also addresses inequalities. - PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters): Citizens in Europe, the United States, China and Japan believe their countries should compensate poorer nations to help address the impact of climate change, a European Investment Bank poll of more than 30,000 people shared with Reuters showed.

The fifth annual climate survey conducted by the bank revealed a broad global consensus to fund the fight against climate change, even if it means higher taxes and the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies.

But concerns about the economic impact of climate action still prevailed across the world, with most respondents saying the transition to a low-carbon economy would only be successful if it also addresses inequalities, the survey revealed.

"The latest EIB Climate Survey underlines people's profound awareness of climate change and their commitment to tackle it head on," said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle.

"They recognise that a successful transition to a climate-neutral world goes hand in hand with addressing social and economic inequalities at home and globally," Fayolle said.

Climate finance for adaptation and loss and damage will be a key issue at COP28 talks set to begin in Dubai this week, and more than 60% of respondents in the European Union and the United States agreed their countries needed to provide funds, said the EIB, the lending arm of the European Union.

Though China still regards itself as a developing country, and believes that industrialised nations should provide the bulk of climate financing, nearly three quarters of Chinese respondents said China - the world's top carbon polluter - should also make contributions.

Respondents from around the world ranked climate change as one of the world's three biggest challenges, along with the rising cost of living and income equality.

The survey also revealed strong global support for the elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels, which is expected to be another major topic of contention at COP28.

In India and China, two of the biggest providers of fossil fuel subsidies, more than 90% of those polled agreed they should be eliminated, with around three quarters of respondents in the United States, Europe and Japan also supporting such a move.

(Editing by Simon Jessop and Franklin Paul). - Reuters

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