People’s Attitudes towards Climate Change SURVEY RESULTS
Hong Kong Does not Feel Climate Change Urgency
HONG KONG, 14 January 2020 – Independent public policy think tank, Civic Exchange, released the results of a public opinion survey on People’s Attitudes towards Climate Change. The survey aimed to gauge understanding of climate change and our willingness to transition Hong Kong to a carbon-neutral society.
While only 16% of people surveyed thought climate change today is more important than livelihood issues (such as economic downturn or housing) and health challenges, 84% said they thought climate change would be significant in the future. 71% of people surveyed in Hong Kong were most concerned by rising temperatures and more extreme weather. 27% were worried about property damage and 33% worried about its economic impact.
Conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI), the survey kicks off “Hong Kong 2050 is Now”, a collaborative initiative of Civic Exchange, World Resources Institute, RS group and ADM Capital Foundation, with a goal of leading Hong Kong to a net zero emissions economy.
A 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed how global warming is likely to affect human populations and our natural systems if we don’t urgently begin to transition our global economy to a low-carbon future. Global annual emissions must be reduced to about half from the current levels by 2030 and net emissions reduced to zero by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. Hong Kong must do its part under the Paris Climate Agreement.
“We need urgent collective action in Hong Kong across government, business and the general public to transition our economy and society,” said Ms Lisa Genasci, a Board Member of Civic Exchange. “The coming years offer a narrow window of opportunity to act, and act swiftly.”
Key Recommendations from the Hong Kong 2050 is Now team based on survey results:
- The government should set more ambitious emissions reduction targets, supported by incremental policies that would lead Hong Kong to carbon neutrality by 2050, contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement
- The government and the business sector should strengthen collaboration to lead Hong Kong through the transition to a low-carbon economy
- The government should reinforce cooperation with non-profit organisations and different stakeholder groups via education and publicity to raise public awareness and understanding of climate change
- Environmental groups should strengthen collaboration on climate change to expand public understanding and social influence
Highlights of the survey include:
I. Target setting – we should move HK toward net zero emissions
84% of respondents believe the impact of climate change will hit future generations harder, with 58% expecting a “big” impact in 3-5 years. These impacts will only get worse as global warming continues, the Hong Kong government should strengthen its actions by committing to and achieving carbon neutrality.
“Every day we delay, the more extreme, difficult and expensive the emission cuts become. Hong Kong needs to develop and implement an ambitious climate action plan immediately and must ensure the transition process leave no one behind,” Mr Lawrence Iu, Researcher of Civic Exchange, pointed out.
II.Awareness & willingness to make change
Almost 80% of respondents believe the government should bear the biggest responsibility in tackling climate change, with 55% disagreeing that the government has implemented sufficient policies on carbon emissions reduction. Respondents also seem to be aware that our lifestyles must change, with 84% saying they “very often” practiced energy savings measures in the past year. The government needs to build on this positive momentum with progressive measures such as tariff implementation in accordance with the polluter-pays principle to fund corresponding policies.
“Results from the four focus groups we conducted echo largely with those from the telephone survey and serve as good references. Most participants expressed that the government should bear the biggest responsibilities to lead, educate, and make and review policies. The government should also provide incentives to citizens and corporates and monitor the business sector,” said Ms Karie Pang, Director of Social Research Services of Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.
III. Aggregate collective action for change
The “Hong Kong 2050 is Now” initiative aims to engage the public on the risks and opportunities facing our city as we transition to a low-carbon economy. We aim to offer a collective vision for a carbon-neutral Hong Kong rooted in rigorous scientific and policy research and analysis.
This PORI survey serves as a baseline for Hong Kong 2050 is Now to monitor progress, forge partnerships for local action and motivate government, businesses and citizens to drive change. A new online web platform launched today at hk2050isnow.org was developed based in part on the findings of the survey, which identified the knowledge gaps that engagement exercises will need to address. This online platform offers the public an exciting and Hong Kong relevant space to learn about the current climate situation, sectoral targets and climate action, and provides a cleaner, greener and more accessible urban life vision.
Mr Wee Kean Fong, Deputy Country Director of World Resources Institute, China, reminded us, “Currently, even if all the unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement are fully implemented, we are still on course for a 3.2°C temperature rise. To limit the global warming to 1.5˚C, we need to raise our ambition, act urgently and collectively.”
From left to right: Lawrence Iu, Researcher of Civic Exchange, Wee Kean Fong, Deputy Country Director of World Resources Institute, China, Lisa Genasci, Board Member of Civic Exchange and Karie Pang, Director of Social Research Services of Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.
Karie Pang (right) shares the results of the PORI survey.
Lawrence Iu (left) introduces the Hong Kong 2050 is Now online platform.
About Hong Kong 2050 is Now
Hong Kong 2050 is Now is a joint initiative of Civic Exchange, World Resources Institute, RS Group and ADM Capital Foundation to galvanise collective action towards a climate neutral Hong Kong by 2050. We aim to engage partners across relevant sectors to shed light on Hong Kong’s pathway to climate neutrality. This includes research, policy and other recommendations in key sectors, including energy, mobility, building efficiency, nature-based solutions, lifestyle considerations and carbon pricing.
Please scan the following QR codes to download our presentation deck and executive summary, and visit the newly launched online platform to find out more about Hong Kong 2050 is Now:
|CEx Presentation Deck||PORI Presentation Deck||PORI Survey|
|hk2050isnow.org||CEx’s Response to the SDC’s Long-term Decarbonisation Strategy Public Engagement|
About Civic Exchange
Civic Exchange is an independent public policy think tank with a vision to shape a liveable and sustainable Hong Kong. Our mission is to engage society and influence public policy through research, dialogue and the development of practical solutions. Civic Exchange has been ranked among the top 50 environment policy think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvania since 2011.
About World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States. Our more than 1,000 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We work on seven urgent challenges: climate, energy, food, forests, water, cities and ocean. We deliver on these challenges in part through our expertise in business, economics, finance and governance.
About ADM Capital Foundation
ADMCF is a non-profit implementing foundation based in Hong Kong that seeks to promote dialogue, education and change across six environmental sectors: climate action, marine environment, water security, air quality, wildlife trade and forestry conservation finance.
About RS Group
RS Group is a Hong Kong-based family office with a mission of creating a paradigm shift in people’s values and priorities so that economic growth will support, instead of jeopardize, human development and environmental sustainability. We believe we have a choice, and a responsibility, to invest our entire capital portfolio in a way that contributes to the well-being of society and the planet, while generating a financial return that meets our needs.
 Global warming of 1.5°C https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/SR15_Full_Report_High_Res.pdf