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Most consumers aware of climate change

Updated: 2012-11-02 13:59
By Lan Lan ( China Daily)

Most consumers aware of climate change

A shopper inspects energy-efficient refrigerators at a department store in Zaozhuang, Shandong province. According to a survey, 87 percent of Chinese respondents said they would be willing to pay more for greener products. [Photo/China Daily]

Majority of Chinese willing to pay more for greener goods, poll shows

The vast majority of Chinese believe climate change is taking place and most consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products to reduce its effects, a survey has found.

Some 93 percent of respondents said climate change is under way, while about three out of five respondents feel they have been directly affected by it.

The study of 4,169 Chinese adults was carried out from July to September by the Center for China Climate Change Communication, jointly established by Renmin University of China and non-governmental organization Oxfam.

About 68.4 percent of respondents said they thought China has already suffered from the effects of climate change, while about half of respondents said it will affect people in rural areas more.

About 90 percent of respondents said the government should have prime responsibility for dealing with climate change, followed by the public, media, companies and NGOs.

Zheng Baowei, director of Renmin University's Research Center of Journalism and Social Development, said the government should play a dominant role in adopting measures and designing policies in line with the public's expectations and interests. However, implementation of the policies will eventually rely on public participation.

More than 93.4 percent of respondents felt they have knowledge of climate change, while just 6.6 percent said they had never heard of it.

About 60 percent thought climate change is mainly caused by human activities, while 33 percent considered it to be mainly caused by the environment.

Sun Zhen, deputy director of the Department of Climate Change at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the data might sound satisfactory, but climate change is placing increasing pressure on China.

As the world is facing more extreme weather-related events, such as hurricanes, drought and floods, the government has an obligation to clarify to what extent climate change has contributed to these, Sun said.

Wang Binbin, executive director of the Center for China Climate Change Communication, said addressing climate change also calls for the public to practise low-carbon ways of living and consumption, while the good news is that more Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for a greener life.

Some 87 percent of those surveyed said they were willing to pay more for greener products, while more than 34 percent said they would accept a 30 percent price rise to buy such products.

The survey also showed that people aged between 18 and 24 were willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products.

More than four out of five respondents said they supported the government in setting standards for mandatory garbage separation and waste recycling, adopting greener materials for construction, and producing greener cars, even if it means higher costs.

Only 34 percent of respondents said they separated their garbage.