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Young Prepared To Spend More On Green Energy

Young prepared to spend more on green energy, survey finds

Shi Jiangtao in Beijing – SCMP – Updated on Feb 18, 2009

Urban mainlanders are willing to pay as much as 20 per cent more for cleaner energy to help reduce the country’s reliance on coal, a survey has found.

The Greenpeace China survey, revealing unprecedented awareness among the public about global warming and its environmental and economic impact, came just two days ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first official visit to the country.

Climate change is expected to be high on Mrs Clinton’s agenda, making it a new focal point between the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Greenpeace China yesterday urged Beijing to heed public opinion and make greater efforts to tackle global warming and pollution.

“There is no excuse for the government not to take this high public acceptance of cleaner energy into consideration and take immediate action to drastically address the threat of global warming by moving away from its heavy reliance on coal towards clean energy,” said campaign director Sze Pang-cheung.

The survey polled 1,175 residents in 10 mainland cities last month, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Harbin, Yinchuan and Linfen in Shanxi province.

Young people said they were more willing to pay for more expensive but environmentally friendly energy, such as wind, solar and nuclear power.

While people aged between 45 and 65 said they would accept a price rise of 17 per cent for cleaner energy, those aged between 15 and 24 said they were willing to pay up to 22 per cent more. Most people blamed industrial production, vehicle emissions, urbanisation and the burning of fossil fuels for global warming.

Climate change was considered one of the top global threats after air and water pollution, with younger people showing greater concern and knowledge of the issue.

People also expressed concern about social stability, the economic crisis, epidemics and poverty.

“The relatively high level of concern [about social breakdown] may be partly explained by wide coverage of social unrest in Tibet and cities across China during the 2008 Olympics,” the study concluded.

While three-quarters of respondents said energy efficient technologies would provide a more reliable and efficient source of power in the long term, 69 per cent said they believed such technologies would help economic growth and 58 per cent said they could create more jobs.

Li Hao of the Ecological Society of China said the findings were encouraging but not surprising.

“They proved once again that Chinese people have a strong sense of responsibility and truly care about the environment because of its impact on health, the economy and their well-being,” she said.

“The government, especially local officials, should pay more attention to people’s concerns.”

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