KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Majority of Malaysians are concerned about climate change and dissatisfied with the government’s efforts in managing it, a Merdeka Center survey has shown.
The survey, which was conducted in December 2016, showed that 81 per cent of Malaysians expressed worry about climate change, even as 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded at 1.1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution average.
"When asked about their satisfaction with the government’s handling of climate change, only 37.5 per cent of respondents report satisfaction while close to one-half (49.7 per cent) expressed dissatisfaction,” Merdeka Center said in a statement.
“The survey found that Bumiputera respondents were more likely to be satisfied with the government efforts while those with higher education and incomes were more dissatisfied," the polling outfit added.
According to Merdeka Center, the survey showed that respondents with a higher income, college education and those aged above 40 years old were more concerned about climate change compared to their peers.
Even though 70 per cent of respondents believed that climate change was caused by human activities, a significant minority at 22 per cent thought that climate change was a result of natural causes. However, scientists blame global warming on human activity.
"Malaysians were also split when assessing their own personal efforts at protecting the environment with 38.9 per cent of the respondents claimed they had done enough while 42.5 per cent of the respondents claimed they had not done enough," Merdeka Center said.
Merdeka Center’s survey respondents believed climate change would damage forest and plants (21. 2 per cent), increase the severity of storms (20.7 per cent), increase droughts and water shortages (17.1 per cent), lead to rising sea levels and shoreline erosion (14.2 per cent), and harm wildlife and destroy habitats (11.1 per cent).
Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 64.2 per cent, said they felt the weather had become more unstable over the past three years.
A total of 65.3 per cent perceived the temperature in Malaysia to be higher compared to three years ago.
The survey was carried out by Merdeka Center between December 18 and 29 last year, with a total of 1,208 respondents being interviewed via fixed line and mobile telephones.
Respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along age group, ethnicity, gender and geographical location including the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
The survey comprised 50 per cent Malay, 30 per cent Chinese, 8 per cent Indian, 6 per cent Muslim Bumiputra and 6 per cent non-Muslim Bumiputera respondents.
Malaysia is one of the 195 countries that adopted The Paris Agreement, an international legally binding treaty for post-2020 climate action.
The Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5 C (2.7 F) if possible, compared with pre-industrial levels.
Last year, The Star reported that Malaysia pledged to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and has introduced measures such as developing carbon-neutral cities, tax incentives to companies which report and limit their emissions, procuring more environmentally-friendly government assets and planting 13 million new trees since 2011.
The daily quoted Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar saying that the country is poised to cut another 32 million tonnes from its carbon emissions by 2020.