Over half of Europeans think that transition to a green economy should be accelerated regardless of the increasing energy price and concerns over reduced Russian gas supplies. Most people believe that climate change is a serious problem; but two-thirds agree that: a) the cost of damage due to climate change is much higher than present level of investment in green transition, and b) that taking climate action needs innovative approach.
Recently, special Eurobarometer’s surveyed over 26 thousand citizens on climate change measures from different social and demographic groups in all EU-27 states. The survey was carried out during May-June 2023: all interviews were conducted face to face, either physically in people’s homes or through remote video interaction.
The results of the dedicated survey have shown that EU citizens continue to back overwhelmingly the energy transition, consider environment and climate change as one of the important issues facing the EU and expect massive investment in renewables.
Respondents in seven EU states said that climate change was the most serious problem in Europe and the world: i.e. Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden; for 16 of the 27 EU member states the issue ranks among the top three. Only 35 percent of respondents “hold themselves responsible”, though many are ready to change their lifestyles in efforts to “green transition”. Still majority of respondents in the EU (except Finland) think that the EU governance, national governments, businesses and industry are responsible for tackling climate change. At the same time, more than two-thirds of EU citizens think that their governments are not doing enough in managing climate crises; the figure has decreased by eight per cent since spring 2021.
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Main survey’s outcomes:
= Emissions reductions, renewables and energy efficiency.
EU citizens (88%) agree that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to a minimum, while offsetting the remaining emissions to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. About nine in ten Europeans think that it is important: a) to set the EU-wide ambitious targets to increase renewable energy use, and b) to take resolute actions in improving energy efficiency (e.g. by encouraging people to insulate their home, install solar panels and/or buy electric cars). About 70 percent of respondents believe that reducing fossil fuel imports can increase energy security and benefit the EU economically.
= Actions and reforms.
Most EU citizens –about 93 percent – are already taking individual climate action and consciously making “sustainable choices” in their daily lives. As to the issue of public responsibility in managing climate change, citizens underlined the need for reforms taken by the national governments (56%), the EU (56%) and business and industry (53%).
European citizens also feel the threat of climate change in their daily lives: on average, over a third of Europeans feel personally exposed to environmental and climate-related risks and threats, particularly in Southern Europe, as well as in Poland and Hungary.
About 84% of Europeans agree that tackling climate change and protecting environmental quality should be a national priority in improving public health, while 63% of respondent agree that the states have to be prepared for climate crises’ negative effects adequate resilient actions.