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Thu 19 Sep 2019 01:57 PM

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Revealed: how UAE, Saudi residents feel about climate change

New survey reveals how Gulf-based residents are less likely to blame human activity for climate change

Revealed: how UAE, Saudi residents feel about climate change
When asked to describe their views about the global environment, half of UAE respondents (52 percent) said they believe the climate is changing and human activity is mainly responsible.

Gulf-based residents are less likely to blame human activity for climate change than their Western counterparts, according to a new survey by YouGov.

When asked to describe their views about the global environment, half of UAE respondents (52 percent) said they believe the climate is changing and human activity is mainly responsible.

Two in five (42 percent) of Egyptians stated the same while only 35 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia blamed humans.

In contrast, Western countries such as Spain and Italy, showed a substantially larger proportion (69 percent and 66 percent, respectively) claiming that climate change is due to human activity.

A further 7 percent of Egyptian and Saudi residents allege that climate is changing but human activity is not responsible at all, while 6 percent of UAE respondents have the same opinion.

Of the markets covered in the study, only the United States (10 percent), Norway (8 percent), and Sweden (6 percent) shared the same or higher levels of scepticism.

With 16-year-old campaigner Greta Thunberg set to speak at the UN’s Climate Action Summit later this month, a new 28-country YouGov survey uncovers attitudes to climate change across the world.

For a region like the Middle East, with several low-lying major cities susceptible to rising sea levels, and recognised by the World Bank as “the most water scarce region in the world”, recognising and acting on the implications of climate change may be critical to the region’s future, YouGov said in a statement.

The study also asked how much of an impact, if any, respondents believe climate change would have on their lives.

The majority of respondents in the Middle East indicated that climate would have a great deal of impact on their lives, including more than half of respondents in Egypt (58 percent) and the UAE (56 percent).

Conversely, respondents in Western countries are much less likely to believe the previous statement with only one in six respondents in Germany and Britain (16 percent and 17 percent, respectively) believing that climate change will have a great deal of impact on their lives.

Respondents were also asked to indicate who they think is responsible for the current situation with climate change.

Asia and Pacific countries generally hold international bodies accountable for the current situation, while the Middle East respondents see national governments of wealthy nations as responsible while more respondents in the US and Europe believe that businesses and industry are to blame for the current climate change situation.

When it comes to taking action on climate change, 90 percent of Spaniards believe their country could be doing more to mitigate problems, while almost 70 percent believe they personally could be more proactive on the matter.

In contrast, only around half of those in the UAE (47 percent) believe their country could take more action on climate change.
YouGov said this could be tied to the UAE’s Vision 2021 in which the UAE government has set a roadmap for climate change mitigation, including 14 projects that are set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.