Climate Change Momentum Fading According to Asia-Pacific Survey

Nov. 19, 2008
Top priority is financial crisis

As the gloomy state of the global economy takes precedence, climate change is fading as a priority in the Pacific Rim the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, a non-governmental group, said on Nov. 19. It released an annual survey of leaders in government, business and media ahead of a summit in Peru of 21 Asia-Pacific leaders.

Twenty-four percent of 400 opinion leaders surveyed said the top priority for Asia-Pacific leaders should be addressing the U.S.-bred financial crisis, far outweighing other issues.

Last year, the top priority was reviving stalled global trade negotiations, at 12%, but climate change came close at 8%. Global warming did not even figure among the top priorities this year.

The survey was released a day after U.S. president-elect Barack Obama pledged to engage the world on climate change, which UN scientists warn threatens extinction for many species by the end of the century. George W. Bush, the outgoing president, was the industrialized world's main holdout from the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that mandatory cuts in carbon emissions blamed for global warming were too costly for the U.S. economy.

The survey also found that 78% of opinion leaders predicted the U.S. would suffer much weaker growth in the coming year and that a U.S. recession was the main risk for the region.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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