The Asean region’s top three most serious climate change impacts are floods, heat waves and rainfall-induced landslides. These were the top concerns of eight of the 10 member nations, according to a new survey.
Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute recently released the findings of its third climate survey reflecting Southeast Asians’ attitude and perception on various threatening issues.
A total of 1,386 respondents from ASEAN member states participated in the five-week survey from June 8 to July 12. The survey covered topics ranging from climate change impacts, coal phase-out, decarbonisation challenges to food security and the country’s role in international climate action.
Coordinator of the Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme Sharon Seah said, “Climate worries are elevating year-on-year as the region continues to face extreme weather impacts, but governments, businesses and other stakeholders are seen to be slow and ineffective in their responses.”
Around 22.8 per cent of respondents in Laos were most concerned about droughts, while 24.8 per cent of respondents from the Philippines were more worried about tropical storms – including hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons.
The stark differences in country perceptions of threat confirm that climate change impacts do not uniformly affect any region or country.
Extreme weather events were the main cause of food supply disruptions in their countries, according to 31.2 per cent of the respondents. The second reason affecting food security was disruptions to global supply chain (25.3 per cent), followed by reduced food exports from producer countries (19.1 per cent).
People living in rural areas expressed stronger agreement about the threat of extreme weather events (46.8 per cent) affecting food security, followed by degraded farmland (22.1 per cent).
For Brunei Darussalam, 42.5 per cent agreed that the people in the Sultanate contributed to climate change, while 15 per cent felt the impact of climate change.
Thirty per cent were of the belief that Brunei did not cause climate change, but needed to play an active role in the global green transition because it concerned the collective future.
Some 90.4 per cent of respondents expressed deep concerns about climate change.
Respondents from the Philippines were found to have the strongest sense of urgency in addressing the climate threat, with over 64.3 per cent believing that climate change posed a “serious and immediate threat to the well-being of the country”.
Meanwhile, only 28 per cent of respondents in Brunei Darussalam showed serious concern about climate change.
The largest proportion of respondents (38.2 per cent) depended on mainstream news sources such as newspaper, radio, television and major online news sites to acquire information relating to climate change issues.
This source is most heavily depended on in Myanmar (49.1 per cent), Laos (44.9 per cent), Malaysia (40 per cent), Singapore (39.6 per cent), Brunei Darussalam (39.2 per cent), and the Philippines (38.4 per cent).
A significant proportion of regional respondents (21.3 per cent) relied on social media and online influencers or public figures as a source of climate information.
Some 37.7 per cent of respondents in Cambodia depended on this source for climate news.
Meanwhile, 53 per cent of the region believed that Singapore had potential to be the regional climate leader, followed by Indonesia at 11.1 per cent. Singapore was the top choice within every country except Indonesia, where 52.9 per cent of Indonesia respondents chose their own country.
Sixty per cent of Brunei respondents chose Singapore, while 81.8 per cent of Cambodia respondents also chose Singapore – the highest among the 10 countries.