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12/03/2010

Panel Public opinion vs. expert’s opinion

Specialists discuss the influence of the media at the Forum on Climate Change Communication

Playa del Carmen, Mexico. - According to a survey conducted by the government of Mexico and the Pew Center released in the panel "Public opinion versus expert opinion" of the Forum on Climate Change Communication, most of the attendants at the COP16 believe that the actions around the world to fight climate change will not happen if they do not have a genuine public support.


Jennifer Scott, Global Head of Strategy and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather, explained that the survey of more than 500 participants at the Conference in Cancun, offers a unique perspective to delegates, NGOs, collaborators, media and opinion leaders, among others, which are the most reliable sources of information, and shows the need to involve the general public on issues related to the climate crisis.


The study noted that 56 percent of the people believe that there has been an irreversible damage on the planet, while 27 percent believe that this damage will be completed within 10 years. Also that 88 percent believe that climate change must be confronted right now.


"The survey shows that people want more leaders, but more importantly that the general public should be more involved in climate change," said Scott.


Research shows that 66 percent of the people trust the information coming from independent scientists and experts, 42 percent from global organizations like the UN, and only 41 percent when provided by leading public figures and organizations of civil society.


Nine out of 10 attendants to the COP16, agree that the lack of knowledge of the population on the issue of climate change is due to the lack of understanding of media and experts when they explain the problem.


Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Project on Climate Change at Yale University, explained that there are major gaps in knowledge on the topic between developed and developing countries, where four out of five people do not know anything about climate change.


"Just between China and India we are talking about 2 billion people who know nothing about climate change," and added that this is very unfortunate because these are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.


For Leiserowitz, this is very serious because it is worse for those who do not know that they are vulnerable to climate change because they do not know how to prepare to fight it back. "Knowing about climate change does not mean understanding it and that's what COP meetings are about."


He added that poor countries believe that climate change is natural, while developed countries believe in changes caused by man. "We need to get people interested. Climate change is an incredible story. We have to tell people that there are options and solutions in order to motivate them. "

Keywords
climate change, poor, poor countries, development, COP16, pew center, Jennifer Scott, irreversible damage, scientific, Anthony Leiserowitz, yale university, Ogilvy & Mather, media, press, journalist, emitter, gases

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