In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Europeans remain very concerned about climate change and support action across the EU to tackle it, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey by the European Commission.
Main survey findings
- European citizens now identify climate change as the single most serious problem facing the world.
- Over a quarter of Europeans (29%) chose either climate change (18%), deterioration of nature (7%) or health problems due to pollution (4%) as the single most serious problem we face.
- 93% of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and 78% see it as a very serious problem. 90% of respondents – and at least three quarters in each Member State – agree that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to a minimum while offsetting the remaining emissions, in order to make the EU economy climate-neutral by 2050.
- 87% think the EU should set ambitious targets to increase renewable energy and support energy efficiency.
- 87% of Europeans agree that tackling climate change should be a priority to improve public health.
- 92% of respondents think it is important their national government sets ambitious targets to increase the amount of renewable energy used and 87% believe governments should provide support for improving energy efficiency by 2030. At the same time, 75% think their national governments are not doing enough to tackle climate change.
- 81% believe that more public financial support should be given to the transition to clean energies, even if it means reducing subsidies to fossil fuels.
Boosting the economy and jobs
75% of Europeans agree that funds from the economic recovery plan should be invested in the new green economy. More than eight in ten respondents agree that promoting EU expertise in clean technologies to countries outside the EU can benefit the EU economically (70%), while 78% believe that taking action on climate change will make EU companies more innovative and competitive.
A large majority agree that reducing fossil fuel imports from outside the EU can increase energy security and benefit the EU economically (70%).
96% of respondents have taken at least one specific action to fight climate change, notably reducing and recycling waste (75% of respondents) and cutting down on consumption of disposable items whenever possible (59%). Almost one third have taken action by adjusting their dietary habits, specifically buying and eating more organic food (32%) and buying and eating less meat (31%).
Adaptation to climate change
Six in ten respondents (62%), and a majority of respondents in all but one Member State, agree that adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change can have positive outcomes for citizens in the EU.
Read Ireland’s response and how it compares to the European response here.
Source – European Commission