77% of our survey respondents think that governments have not been investing enough in a low-carbon economy.
The conditions under which the Durban meeting will take place could not be more challenging.
The United States and the European Union are trying to deal with the lingering repercussions of the financial crisis. A decade-long credit boom, combined with the massive cost of bailing out banks and stimulating economies has left many governments with high debts and limited financial resources.
77% of our survey respondents think that governments have not been investing enough in a low-carbon economy. Among those from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, this proportion is even higher.
A study conducted for EY for this report suggests that current austerity measures adopted by governments could give rise to a large funding gap in their spending toward climate change. The aggregate funding gap among ten of the world's major economies could reach up to US$45bn by 2015, according to the research.
In your opinion, have world governments
been investing enough in the development
of low carbonenergy solutions?
Confidence is fragile around the world and policy-makers are under pressure to focus on the state of their economies rather than on the state of the planet.
Other recent events complicate matters even further. The accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has re-opened the debate about the future of nuclear power as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Public concern about nuclear safety has been heightened and this has thrown the spotlight on energy policy around the world.
This combination of factors will place policy-makers at the meeting under huge pressure. Without a deal and binding targets on nations, the Kyoto Protocol could potentially cease to exist. The absence of a global deal takes the world further away from reducing emissions in a way that will limit the global temperature increase to
2°C by 2050. This is widely regarded by most climatologists as the upper limit within which serious climatic impacts could possibly be prevented.
Instead, we may be moving to a world where emissions continue on their current trajectory and average temperatures may rise an expected 6°C over the next century according to some potential scenarios.
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