In the run up to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) which began in Paris last week, new research findings from YouGov show that whilst almost a third (31%) of residents in Saudi Arabia believe planet earth is already in serious danger and by the time their children grow it will be a disaster, 27% believe the danger isn’t as bad as people think and another 27% think it’s fine and it will fix itself as it has done for millions of years.
Citing the reasons why Saudi residents are least likely to adopt measures to combat climate change, three-fifths who are not currently adopting environmental measures are the most concerned about the inconvenience (59%) and a quarter say they are put off by the expense of implementing them (25%).
That said, over half of respondents claimed that they would feel more motivated to implement measures to help climate change if the government provides more support, such as offering rewards or payments for recycling or carpooling (51%), residential recycling systems (50%) and reducing residents’ power fees (41%).
Despite a difference of opinion on how serious climate change is, overall, the study demonstrates that the majority of respondents in Saudi Arabia are generally concerned about the environment and the effects of climate change (68%). A third claim global warming is a ‘very serious problem’ whilst 35% believe the problem is ‘somewhat serious’.
In anticipation of the results of talks by global leaders at the annual meeting of all countries willing to take action for climate change, 46% of residents in Saudi Arabia claim they are looking to their government leaders to set ambitious targets to address the impact on the environment as quickly as possible. Whereas 31% believe that their government should take more gradual action.
The study shows that respondents do realize the benefit of taking certain actions to help the environment. Top actions residents think will make the most difference are:
- Switching off lights when not in use (51%).
- Recycling materials such as glass, paper, aluminum and/or plastic (46%).
- Consciously using less water when washing dishes, brushing teeth and doing other household tasks (44%)
The study reveals residents in Saudi Arabia also embrace their role in helping to combat climate change by implementing certain lifestyle changes. Residents were most enthusiastic about adopting:
- Power saving techniques, such as switching off the lights when not in use (61%)
- Consciously lowering their household water consumption (43%)
- Unplugging electronics when not in use (41%)
In addition, to help the environment, 33% of respondents claim they usually keep their air conditioning on a constant temperature as a measure to help the environment.
Positively, respondents tend to be open to changing their habits in the future. The top three most favored approaches were:
- Growing their own food (40%)
- Recycling materials (36%)
- Keeping a personal record of their household energy and water consumption to monitor changes (34%)
Overall a quarter of residents are very positive that their government is doing a lot to tackle global warming problems and 14% believe they are getting the balance right. However, 36% believe the government could do more, whilst another quarter (25%) claim they don’t know.
Research for this study was conducted online by YouGov amongst 760 residents in Saudi Arabia between 12 and 18 November 2015. Data is broadly representative of the online population in Saudi Arabia.