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City dwellers cite climate as top concern: poll


A polluted Hong Kong island skyline is seen September 17, 2008. High to very high pollution levels were recorded in various districts in the territory on Wednesday. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
A polluted Hong Kong island skyline is seen September 17, 2008. High to very high pollution levels were recorded in various districts in the territory on Wednesday. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Residents of major world cities cite climate change as the most pressing global issue, except residents of large U.S. cities who list the economy as the bigger problem, according to a survey by HSBC Bank.

Climate change topped the list of concerns by some two-thirds of Hong Kong residents polled as well as majorities of residents of London, Paris, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, according to the poll of 2,044 urban residents around the world.

Residents of U.S. cities, however, ranked the economy as the biggest global issue, closely followed by terrorism with climate change ranking third.

The survey polled residents of 11 cities -- New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Hong Kong, Paris, Sao Paolo and Sydney.

"When you look at what the impact of the recent global downturn has been, U.S. individuals had a larger percent of their portfolio or a larger percentage of their wealth negatively affected," said Andy Ireland, head of premier banking for HSBC Bank NA. "I think there may be a correlation between the two."

U.S. respondents were hardest hit by the economic downturn with 56 percent reporting a decrease in their portfolio value.

Fifty five percent of Paris residents said their portfolios dropped in value and 45 percent of Londoners reported a decrease. However, just 19 percent of Hong Kong respondents said their portfolios lost value.

The survey was conducted online from February 17 to March 1 among respondents who had university or post-graduate educations, were ages 25 to 64 and had at least $100,000 of investable assets.

No statistical margin of error was calculated, as the sample was not projectable to a larger population.

(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Chris Wilson)

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