Europeans have become increasingly concerned about climate change and a large majority believe that taking action will boost the EU economy and jobs, according to a new survey.
Nearly 75% of EU citizens now see climate change as a very serious problem and almost 80% believe that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently will bring economic benefits, show the results of a special Eurobarometer opinion poll published today.
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "This opinion poll shows that our ambitious climate and energy policy agenda has the most important backing of all: that of our citizens. It also shows that a clear majority of Europeans expect their politicians to address the serious climate challenge now as an essential tool for sustainable economic growth and creating jobs. And it is also encouragement for us at the European Commission to continue fighting for ambitious climate action across Europe."
Key results of the survey:
- 74% of respondents believe that climate change is a very serious problem, up from 69% in the previous Eurobarometer poll conducted in 2015, while 92% see it as a serious problem, up from 91% in 2015.
- The proportion of respondents seeing climate change as a very serious problem has risen by at least 5 percentage points in 16 Member States since 2015, while differences between socio-demographic groups have also narrowed, indicating a growing consensus among EU citizens.
- 43% consider climate change to be among the most serious problems facing the world. Respondents rank climate change as the third most serious global problem, after poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water (first) and international terrorism (second).
- Climate change is seen as the most serious global problem in Sweden (38%) and Denmark (29%), while this view is held by less than one in ten respondents in several countries in Southern and Eastern Europe.
- Roughly half of respondents say they personally take action against climate change (49%), yet when given specific examples this share rises to nine in ten (90%). The most common action is reducing waste and regularly separating it for recycling, done by over seven in ten (71%).
Other key findings:
- 79% of respondents believe that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the EU economy and jobs and 77% that promoting EU expertise in new clean technologies to third countries can benefit the EU economically. 65% also agree that reducing fossil fuel imports from third countries can bring the EU economic benefits.
- A large majority of respondents also agree that more public financial support should be given to the transition to clean energies even if this means reducing fossil fuel subsidies (79%) and that reducing fossil fuel imports can increase the security of EU energy supplies (64%).
- 89% believe it is important for their national government to set targets to increase the amount of renewable energy used by 2030 and 88% believe that it should provide support for improving energy efficiency by 2030.
The EU has set itself three key climate and energy targets for 2030: a minimum 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990; a minimum 27% share for renewable energy; and at least a 27% improvement in energy efficiency. The targets are aimed at putting the EU firmly on a path towards becoming a low-carbon economy by 2050.
This latest Eurobarometer survey on climate change was carried out in the 28 Member States between 18 and 27 March 2017. A total of 27,901 EU citizens were interviewed face-to-face.
- Publication date
- 15 September 2017
- Directorate-General for Climate Action