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More Singaporeans aware of climate change’s impact, willing to sacrifice for low-carbon economy: Survey

SINGAPORE — A new survey has identified a significant shift in Singaporeans’ attitude to climate change. In 2017, the top reason cited for taking climate-friendly decisions was to lower household bills but now it is to “preserve a liveable world for future generations”.

More Singaporeans aware of climate change’s impact, willing to sacrifice for low-carbon economy: Survey

Respondents to a survey said that they are willing to make personal sacrifices to help combat climate change, in order to preserve a liveable world for future generations.

SINGAPORE — A new survey has identified a significant shift in Singaporeans’ attitude to climate change;In 2017, the top reason cited for taking climate-friendly decisions was to lower household bills but now it is to “preserve a liveable world for future generations”.

The latest edition of the Climate Change Public Perception Survey by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) found that not only are more Singaporeans aware of the impact of climate change, they are also willing to make personal sacrifices to support a shift to a low-carbon economy.

The findings were released on Monday (Dec 16), based on a survey conducted from May to July this year of about 1,000 Singaporean residents, aged 15 and above, in face-to-face interviews. The NCCS is part of the Strategy Group in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Here are some of the key findings from the survey, which is held every two years since 2011.

SINGAPOREANS SUPPORT SHIFT TO LOW CARBON ECONOMY

One of the new questions posed to respondents sought their views on shifting to a low-carbon economy. More than nine in 10 of the respondents were in favour of it.

The survey also found that eight in 10 are prepared to play their part to make this happen, even if they are expected to “bear some additional costs and inconvenience as consumers”.

One possible reason for this could be the growing awareness among Singaporeans about the impact of climate change.

According to the survey, about 95 per cent of respondents have heard of, read, or come across the terms “climate change” and “global warming”.

In comparison, awareness of these terms hovered around 90 per cent in 2017, and about 81 per cent in 2015.

Aside from being aware of the terminology, this year’s respondents said they were aware of the impact climate change could have on the environment such as:

  • Disruptions to the ecosystems: 95.3 per cent
  • Increased vulnerability due to heat stress and diseases: 93.7 per cent
  • Problems caused by sea level rise: 93.4 per cent
  • Disruption to food supply and prices: 93.2 per cent

WHAT IS MOTIVATING SINGAPOREANS TO WORK TO SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, AND HOW?

The top reason respondents gave this year for taking climate-friendly actions was that they wanted to “preserve a liveable world for future generations”.

In contrast, the top reason given by respondents in 2017 was that it saved money. This was fifth on the list of reasons given this year.

The survey found there was a general uptrend in Singaporeans doing more to be “climate friendly”, such as switching off electrical appliances at wall sockets, conserving water, reducing food wastage and tracking food expiration.

This year, 90.7 per cent of respondents said they were choosing to do their part by conserving water, a 5 percentage point increase from 2017. In 2015 it was 84.4 per cent.

The survey found a relatively low level of action on reducing food wastage and tracking food expiration. While slightly more Singaporeans were doing what they could in this area (79.7 per cent) than in 2017 (77.6 per cent), the 2019 figure was about the same as 2015.

A possible reason that more Singaporeans are choosing to be environmentally friendly is that about 85 per cent of the respondents said that climate change is already happening, and it will affect future generations if nothing is done.

IT’S A COLLECTIVE EFFORT

Respondents agreed that it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part in fighting climate change.

However, when ranked according to who bore the most responsibility, respondents felt that the Government should lead the charge, followed by business leaders and individuals.

Here is the percentage of respondents who believed the various groups were responsible for taking action on climate change. Respondents were able to name more than one:

  • 1. The Government (46.3 per cent)
  • 2. Businesses (38.2 per cent)
  • 3. Individuals (35.3 per cent)
  • 4. Community groups and non-governmental organisations (18.2 per cent)

“Addressing climate change is a whole-of-society effort, and requires the Government, businesses, the community and individuals to work together,” said the NCCS. “The Government will continue to encourage collective climate action, and work closely with businesses and citizens to co-create solutions to build a resilient and sustainable Singapore.”

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