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A 19-nation poll conducted for the BBC and released on the eve of the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg finds huge majorities worried about climate change and other negative impacts of the ways that energy is produced and used, and supportive of government actions to address these risks. In countries as different as the U.S., Russia, Kenya and Brazil, majorities express concern that current energy policies pose the triple threats of harming the Earth’s climate, destabilizing the global economy, and sparking conflict and wars. According to poll results published by World Public Opinion, eight in ten citizens (81%) across the 19 countries are concerned about the impact that current energy policies are having on environment and climate. Climate change topped other worries, and this concern increased with level of education. The U.S. and Australia, the only countries in CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) that have failed to ratify the Kyoto climate treaty, nonetheless report higher-than-average levels of concern about climate change and a significantly greater-than-average willingness to use higher taxes to encourage conservation.
How long will energy policy in these two important democracies remain captive of the energy, automobile and highway lobbies—and at odds with the interests and opinions of the majority of their citizens?