Vietnam is one of only two countries or territories globally where climate change is the people's top concern, according to a survey by HSBC.
Part of Hai Hau District in the northern province of Nam Dinh is flooded by seawater. The district's 27km coastline is reportedly overcome by sea water each year in some places. - Photo Xuan Truong
The results of HSBC's fourth annual Climate Confidence Monitor revealed that climate change, economic stability and terrorism ranked together as the top three concerns globally. In Hong Kong and Vietnam, people surveyed said climate change was their number one concern.
This is the first time that Vietnam took part in the survey. One in three Vietnamese polled said they were aware of climate change and its effect on their daily life and 43 per cent thought it was among the biggest issues that they were concerned about.
Vietnamese respondents demonstrated the strongest personal commitment globally to reducing climate impacts. Implementing energy-saving home improvements (31 per cent), reducing home heating and air-conditioning (29 per cent) and recycling household waste (17 per cent) were the top three ways that people here could fight climate change, similar to global results.
Large scale government funded initiatives are highly expected with 53 per cent of the surveyed participants believing they would be more effective in reducing the impacts.
Vietnamese people also showed good will by preferring to buy environment friendly products rather than save money. Climate was the primary driver for Vietnamese families to take low-carbon actions such as paying a higher price for more energy efficient products, recycling household waste and eating less meat. Forty three per cent said they would pay a higher price for energy efficient products, higher than the global average of 40 per cent and countries such as the USA (26 per cent) and Japan (23 per cent).
Globally, the emerging economies provided a welcome note of optimism, leading the way in terms of concern, personal commitment and the belief that climate change can be stopped in a survey that reflects a largely gloomy picture of a worried, pessimistic public.
Two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents in China claimed to be making a significant effort to help reduce climate change, compared to 23 per cent in the UK, 20 per cent in the USA and 11 per cent in Japan. One in three people in Vietnam, India and China believed climate change could be halted, compared to just one in twenty in France and the UK.
People's opinions surrounding the business opportunities and economic prospects presented by climate change were encouraging. Over half of respondents in Brazil, India and Malaysia strongly agreed their countries would prosper and new jobs would be created by responding to climate change. The UK and the US were slightly less optimistic, but still a third of people thought economic opportunities and new jobs could be created.
This sentiment was accompanied by a strong call for business to invest in addressing climate change, with almost three-quarters of people in France (73 per cent) and more than two thirds in Germany (67 per cent) expressing the view that greater business investment is needed in this area. NGOs and individuals were seen as central to the effort, backed up by effective government intervention (such as carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes).