Veolia Barometer for the Ecological Transformation – UAE

The discourse surrounding ecology has reached a new juncture, struggling to find common ground. While there is a consensus about the risks posed to our planet and humanity, the discussions on solutions to mitigate our impact remain fragmented and inadequately debated.

Amidst the deluge of IPCC reports, climate strategies, and COP discussions, there are a multitude of approaches to combat climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. However, a critical question arises about the acceptability of the changes needed to address what is often dubbed the “battle of the century.” Are these changes socially, economically, and culturally acceptable to human communities?

This pivotal question lies at the heart of Veolia’s Ecological Transformation Barometer, an extensive study spanning over half of the world’s population across five continents. The objective of this barometer is to bring practical substance to public discourse by focusing on concrete solutions and examining the obstacles and catalysts influencing their acceptability, thereby expediting the transition. The study surveyed 1,011 individuals in the UAE.

A sense of extreme vulnerability now unites historically fragile countries (with low GDP, a history of natural disasters, and a scarcity of essential resources) and developed nations. In the UAE, 65% of residents express a feeling of ecological and climate vulnerability (compared to 71% of the world’s inhabitants).

Debating climate change is no longer a question. The increasing occurrence of “abnormal” phenomena has provided evidence that some had long refuted or ignored, contrary to decades of scientific warnings. In the UAE, 79% of residents now share the certainty of ongoing climate disruption. However, there is still local debate regarding its anthropic origin: 12% defend the theory of a strictly natural phenomenon, while 6% argue the impossibility of identifying the cause.

For 54% of UAE residents, it’s challenging to envision the potential daily life in the wake of ecological transformation: 28% can’t see it at all, and 26% have vague ideas. Nevertheless, the majority believe that there’s ample discussion about the solutions to be implemented.

The fear of the consequences of inaction now outweighs the fear of the cost of change. The projected gains and losses favor ecological transformation. Six out of ten UAE residents express their willingness to accept 95% of the changes that green solutions would entail, provided that:

They have the assurance that the solution poses no health risks and contributes to health and quality of life.
The economic and cultural costs are manageable, with a progressive transition and a fair sharing of financial burdens.
There is certainty that the solution is genuinely useful and sustainable.
There is confidence that the solution contributes to UAE food or energy security.

About the Author

Veolia Group aims to be the benchmark company for ecological transformation. With nearly 220,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides game-changing solutions that are both useful and practical for water, waste and energy management. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them.

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