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.