More Singaporeans aware of climate change but few know what to do: survey

SG Climate Rally attendees stage a "die-in" to symbolise the loss of human life and biodiversity due to climate change at Hong Lim Park on Saturday (21 September). (PHOTO: SG Climate Rally)

SINGAPORE — The proportion of Singaporeans who are aware of climate change and its impact has increased, with many willing to take steps to combat it, according to a survey by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS).

In the latest findings of its biennial survey, the NCCS found that 94.9 per cent of about 1,000 Singapore residents aged 15 and above that it surveyed have read of or come across the terms “climate change” and “global warming”. This was up from 89.5 per cent in 2017 and 80.6 per cent in 2015, according to the NCCS news release on Monday (16 December).

More residents are also taking climate-friendly actions, with more respondents saying that they conserve water (90.7 per cent, up from 85.8 per cent in 2017) and have reduced their food wastage (79.7 per cent, up from 77.6 per cent in 2017). The proportion of those who practised switching off electrical appliances at the wall socket remained at 91 per cent.

Most respondents were also aware of the key effects of climate change, including disruption to ecosystems (95.3 per cent), increased vulnerability to heat stress and diseases (93.7 per cent), and rising sea levels (93.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, 95.4 per cent of respondents said they supported the idea of Singapore making the shift to become a low-carbon economy. About 78.2 per cent said they were willing to do their part in achieving this goal even if it means bearing additional costs and inconveniences as consumers.

While many respondents believed that individual actions can make a difference (60.9 per cent), only about half of them (48.3 per cent) knew of what steps to take to help address climate change.

Calling for a “whole-of-society effort” to tackle the issue, the NCCS said the government would work closely with businesses and citizens too build a “resilient and sustainable Singapore”.

The NCCS, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Office, conducted the 5th edition of its survey from May to July this year.

In his National Day Rally speech in August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called the fight against climate change an “existential” issue for Singapore. He also warned that the long-term cost of protecting the country from rising sea levels would amount to more than $100 billion over the next 50-100 years.

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