Survey Reveals Southeast Asian Perspectives on Climate Change

In a recent survey published by the Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, 2,225 respondents from ten ASEAN member states shared their views on climate change. The findings shed light on prevailing attitudes towards climate action in the region.


In a recent survey published by the Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, 2,225 respondents from ten ASEAN member states shared their views on climate change. The findings shed light on prevailing attitudes towards climate action in the region. Here are the key takeaways:

1. Governments’ Efforts in Addressing Climate Change

A significant majority of respondents believe that their national governments are aware of climate threats but lack sufficient resources to combat them (35.7%). Around a quarter feel that their government isn’t prioritizing climate change adequately. However, a notable group (24.8%) believes their government recognizes the urgency and has allocated ample resources.

2. Stakeholders’ Role in Climate Action

National governments are seen as bearing the greatest responsibility for climate action and financing, followed by businesses and industries. However, there’s a perception that businesses are lagging behind in taking meaningful climate steps. Civil society is viewed as the most active stakeholder, highlighting a need for increased private sector involvement.

3. Climate Change Urgency

The proportion of respondents expressing the highest level of urgency regarding climate change has declined from 68.6% in 2021 to 49.4% in 2023. Meanwhile, 41.9% believe monitoring climate change is crucial. This lowered sense of urgency is particularly interesting as it raises questions about what other immediate concerns people have.

4. Accelerating Clean Energy Transition

Respondents regard the development of regional energy infrastructure (72.2%) as the top priority for ASEAN to expedite the transition to clean energy. This is followed by the adoption of a regional renewable energy agreement (51.9%) and the establishment of a common ASEAN clean energy fund (46.0%).

5. Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Approximately half of the respondents (51.1%) believe that fossil fuel subsidies should be reduced in their respective countries, while 31.8% are uncertain, and 17.1% disagree.

6. Concerns About Climate Impacts on Food Security

Floods, droughts, and heat waves were identified as the most pressing climate impacts on agriculture in Southeast Asia. Respondents expressed a desire for increased focus on climate-adaptive farming methods, investment in agriculture and food technology, and boosted domestic production to enhance food resilience.

7. Leadership in Climate Innovation and Assistance

Japan is viewed as the most influential international partner in leading global climate innovation (23.7%) and sharing climate expertise, practical ability, and technical know-how (25.8%). The European Union and China followed closely in second and third place for both roles.

8. Top Transition Concerns

Rising energy prices and the cost of living (54.2%) emerged as the most significant concerns related to the energy transition, followed by energy shortages (21.7%). Singapore, in paritcular, expressed the highest worry about rising energy prices.

To sum up, the survey offers valuable insights into the climate attitudes of people in Southeast Asia and highlights areas where collective action can drive progress in combating climate change in the region. Click here to read the full report.

Singapore to Increase Water Prices in 2024

Singapore will implement a phased revision of water prices, starting on 1 April 2024.


Singapore, 27 September 2023 — In response to escalating production and supply costs, Singapore will implement a phased revision of water prices, commencing on 1 April 2024 and followed by another adjustment on 1 April 2025.

Currently priced at $2.74 per cubic metre, the potable water rate will incrementally rise by 50 cents per cubic metre over two phases. The initial increase of 20 cents per cubic metre will be effective from 1 April 2024, followed by a subsequent rise of 30 cents per cubic metre from 1 April 2025.

In light of the full price revision set for April 2025, approximately 75% of households can expect a monthly increase of less than $10, before government support. Similarly, 75% of businesses, including small and medium enterprises, will see an increase of less than $25 in their monthly water bills.

Reasons for the Price Increase

Water, a critical resource for Singapore’s sustainability, has been a focal point of long-term planning and investment in critical infrastructure. This commitment has culminated in the establishment of the Four National Taps, ensuring a secure and dependable water supply to meet the nation’s growing demands.

Despite active cost mitigation measures, PUB and associated contractors have faced substantial cost increases since the last revision in 2017. Contributing factors include a 37% surge in average electricity market tariffs, increased expenses for essential chemicals and maintenance, and a 35% rise in construction costs.

Anticipating nearly double the water demand by 2065, Singapore acknowledges the pressing need for sustained investments in water infrastructure. The threat of climate change further underscores the necessity of weather-resilient water sources, such as NEWater and desalinated water, albeit at a higher energy and production cost.


Supports for a Smooth Transition

To cushion the impact of the water price hike, especially for lower- and middle-income households, the government will provide additional financial support, with details to be disclosed by the Ministry of Finance shortly. PUB will collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and relevant authorities to discourage profiteering.

Furthermore, the Climate Friendly Households (CFH) Programme will extend e-vouchers to all 1-, 2-, and 3-room households for water-efficient shower fittings. This program will be expanded in the coming year to encompass additional water fittings, yielding savings of approximately $50 to $150 per household annually.

Businesses, too, can tap into PUB’s augmented Water Efficiency Fund to implement water recycling and efficiency projects, thereby reducing their water demand and achieving sustainable cost savings.

As Singapore navigates these revisions, a comprehensive approach combining conservation efforts and financial support aims to ensure the continued availability and accessibility of this vital resource for all its citizens.

Only One Earth, Climate Action, and Environmental Justice Lesson Series!

World Environment Day focuses on transformative actions on a global scale to protect and preserve our planet. This week we look at individual and collective efforts to reduce our impact on Earth and feature a few high-quality resources that you could use in your classroom.

Air Pollution and Environmental justice

Hi, welcome to The Poppy Podcast. I’m your host, Poppy. In this episode, I talk to Michael Newman, an environmental scientist who studies the impact of air pollution on people of different races, ethnicities and income levels.

Air Pollution and Environmental justice



Hi, welcome to The Poppy Podcast. I’m your host, Poppy. In this episode, I talk to Michael Newman, an environmental scientist who studies the impact of air pollution on people of different races, ethnicities and income levels. We will explore how air pollution disproportionally affects low-income families and people of color. 

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Hi, Michael. Thank you for speaking with me on this very important matter. We all know that air pollution can cause severe health issues like asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. Does air pollution affect some people more than others? Who exactly are these people?  What does your research tell you?


Hi, Poppy. Thanks for having me. Well… air pollution, intensified by climate change, does affect people differently. Many studies show that children, the elderly and people from low-income families are the most affected. Those living close to sources of pollution like fossil fuel power plants are also more vulnerable to air pollution related health problems. And when we look at people’s exposure to air pollution based on who they are — like their race, ethnicity and income level — we find that people of color have a much higher exposure rate than white people.  


Why do you think people of color face disproportionate exposure to air pollution?


Well, this is a result of systemic racism in this country. Racism, discriminatory housing practices and real estate costs have pushed people of color into areas that are more polluted. Fossil fuel power plants that contribute to fine particle air pollution tend to be located near disadvantaged communities because of low land costs and regulatory loopholes. 


This is so unfair! These communities are the least prepared to cope with long-term health problems like asthma and cancer! How can they afford the extra medical bills? 


You hit the nail on the head. Low-income communities are even more susceptible because they don’t have access to proper medical care, healthy grocery options, and safe working conditions. Many people have to work outdoors in heat or on smog days, which increases their exposure to ozone and particulate matter pollution. 


And I guess it is not easy to take sick days, either. You painted a very grim picture. Is there any hope at all for disadvantaged communities? What can we do to address these problems? 


The short answer is yes. There certainly is hope; 28% of the coal-fired power plants operating right now are scheduled to be retired by 2035. But this isn’t enough. More power plants that run on fossil fuels need to be closed. The conversion to clean energy needs to be accelerated, too. To protect public health, higher standards need to be set for pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides.  


A lot needs to be done. I think we should all take an active role in shaping air pollution-related regulations that affect the well-being of our communities.  




That’s all we have time for today. Thank you for listening to The Poppy Podcast. I’ll see you next time.