The Straits Times: More Singaporeans care about climate change

The Straits Times reported on the National Climate Change Secretariat’s survey on the awareness levels of Singaporeans towards climate change. Green Drinks Singapore was asked for our reaction towards the results.

More Singaporeans care about climate change

The first local survey on climate change shows that most Singaporeans are concerned about the issue and believe in taking action to address it.

The findings, released yesterday by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), took civic and industry organisations by surprise and all agreed that the trend was encouraging.

The NCCS conducted a face-to-face poll of about 1,000 Singaporeans aged 15 and above from October to December last year on issues relating to climate change.

At the time, there was serious flooding in Thailand and Singapore also experienced heavy rainfall and floods – events which might have raised public awareness about environmental issues.

The survey showed that 86 per cent, or more than eight in 10 of the respondents, felt a sense of responsibility in dealing with climate change, and 74 per cent were concerned about it.

Some 63 per cent felt that Singapore would be severely affected, while 58 per cent said the country should take action to reduce the effects of climate change even if it involved significant cost.

Singapore Environment Council executive director Jose Raymond said the results surpassed his expectations and countered the popular notion that Singaporeans do not care about climate change.

Ms Olivia Choong, co-founder of environmental group Green Drinks Singapore, said she had expected the numbers to be lower, based on her own interaction with the public.

The positive findings were a stark contrast to a broader public perception survey on the environment done in 2005 by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

Then, only 53 per cent of those polled said they had even heard of climate change or global warming.

Asked why they were concerned about climate change, three-quarters of those surveyed last year agreed that the environment had to be preserved for future generations and that everyone shared this responsibility.

About half had a more practical reason for adopting eco-friendly practices: It would help lower the cost of living.

But despite the survey findings indicating a high level of support for efforts to deal with climate change, only half of those polled said they would like to receive more information.

Of this group, most wanted to know more about the impacts and effects, the science behind climate change, and what individuals can do.

Ms Choong said there could still be a gap between Singaporeans saying they care about climate change and actually doing something about it.

The NCCS yesterday also released key suggestions from its public consultation exercise for Singapore’s National Climate Change Strategy 2012, conducted from September till last month.

The document, to be published in the middle of the year, will set out ways for Singapore to reduce its carbon emissions and prepare against the effects of climate change, and include suggestions from members of the public.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, said in a statement yesterday that he was heartened by the strong support for climate change action.

‘If we do our part, we can help protect the environment for future generations and ensure that Singapore is well prepared for climate change, and remains economically competitive and vibrant,’ he said.

The NCCS findings can be viewed at www.nccs.gov.sg/consultation.

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  • About Green Drinks Singapore

    Founded in November 2007, Green Drinks Singapore is one of more than 800 cities with a Green Drinks presence.

  • We are a non-profit environmental movement that connects academia, green businesses, activists, community and government, for knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities. We do this by organising informal talks every last Thursday of the month, over drinks! Once in a while, we hold discussions, documentary screenings and workshops to further engage the public and participants.
  • Started in 1989 in London, the Green Drinks movement is a self-organising network that is meant to be simple and unstructured. The global site can be found at www.greendrinks.org.
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