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Survey shows fewer S’poreans worried about climate change

SINGAPORE — Even though Singapore has been hit by unprecedented environmental issues in recent times, such as the prolonged dry spell in the last two months and the severe bout of haze last year that saw the Pollutant Standards Index reading hit a record 401, a survey has shown that people here seem less concerned about climate change than before.

Survey shows fewer S’poreans worried about climate change

Some areas around the Lower Seletar Reservoir have dried up on 4 March 2014 due to the prolonged dry weather. Photo by Ooi Boon Keong

SINGAPORE — Even though Singapore has been hit by unprecedented environmental issues in recent times, such as the prolonged dry spell in the last two months and the severe bout of haze last year that saw the Pollutant Standards Index reading hit a record 401, a survey has shown that people here seem less concerned about climate change than before.

The survey, which was conducted by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), found that about 70 per cent of respondents were concerned about climate change, down from 74 per cent in 2011 when a similar study was conducted.

Also, fewer feel that individuals are responsible for taking action to tackle the issue. Only about 39 per cent — down from 56 per cent in a similar survey two years ago — said it is up to individuals to address climate change.

In contrast, many more now think the responsibility lies with the Government — 40 per cent, sharply higher than the 26 per cent in 2011.

This is despite almost four in five respondents saying Singapore will be affected by climate change — with most of these citing extreme weather events as well as impact on public health as examples of possible effects.

Nevertheless, about 63 per cent felt they were doing their part in tackling climate issues. Turning off electrical appliances at the main power source when they are not in use and taking public transport or car-pooling were the most commonly-practised habits, survey results showed.

The poll also found that the desire to save money was the key motivator for many respondents’ actions. For instance, about 91 per cent said they turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use because of cost savings, while 54 per cent said they do so to protect the environment.

Although 74 per cent of respondents were willing to pay more to support green products, most of them — about 42 per cent — were only willing to pay 1 to 10 per cent more, while 26 per cent were not willing to pay more at all.

The NCCS survey polled 1,000 Singapore residents aged 15 and above from September to October last year through face-to-face interviews to find out their knowledge and attitudes about climate change, as well as their practices.

The NCCS hopes to create more public awareness on climate issues and encourage the public to do their part, for example, by sharing ideas on how to tackle climate change on its Climate Change SG Facebook page and participating in its National Climate Change Competition.

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