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  • 71% believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences should accelerate the green transition.
  • Despite the energy and inflation crisis, nearly half of French people (47%) consider climate change to be the biggest challenge the country is facing (an increase of 8 percentage points compared with last year), particularly those aged 65 and over (the figure for this group has increased by 15 percentage points since last year).
  • 89% say that, if we do not drastically reduce our consumption of energy and goods in the coming years, we will be heading for a global catastrophe.
  • 68% are in favour of heavily taxing highly polluting goods and services such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and air transport.
  • 63% are in favour of indexing energy prices to the level of consumption per household.

These are some of the results from the latest yearly Climate Survey conducted in August 2022 and published today by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.

After a challenging year in which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked an ongoing energy crisis and accelerated inflation all over Europe, and a summer marked by record heatwaves and droughts, French people have become even more acutely aware of the impact of climate change and the need for urgent action.

Climate change awareness and urgency

While COVID-19 was considered the number one challenge for French people last year, concerns over inflation now predominate, with 52% citing it as their top concern, compared with 36% across the rest of the European Union.

Concerns over climate change come right after inflation and are increasing rapidly (47% now consider it to be the biggest challenge compared with 39% in 2021; an increase of 8 percentage points). This figure is particularly high among French people aged 65 and over (58%, up 15 percentage points from 2021). In addition, 80% of French people now say they feel the effects of climate change on their daily lives (an increase of 9 percentage points compared with 2021).

89% think that, if we do not drastically reduce our consumption of energy and goods in the coming years, we will be heading for a global catastrophe. At the same time, 87% feel that the government is reacting too slowly, and only 39% think that France will succeed in substantially reducing its carbon emissions by 2030.

War in Ukraine and green transition

Most French people (71%) believe that the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the prices of oil and gas should accelerate the green transition (compared with the European average of 66%).

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

When asked to rank their energy priorities, French people expect their government to prioritise the development of renewable energies (41%) before focusing on energy supply diversification to avoid being overly reliant on a single provider (35%).

Energy savings also ranks high in their priorities. More French people than the EU average believe that citizens and companies must do more to reduce their own consumption (24% compared with 19%). This is especially the case among the younger generation (31% of 15- to 29-year-olds).

Tackling climate change and addressing high energy prices

To reduce energy consumption, French people are in favour of heavily taxing highly polluting goods and services such as SUVs and air transport (68%). They also support the indexing of energy prices to the level of consumption per household (63%).

If French people were to lower the temperature in their homes this winter, 47% of them would accept capping it at 19° C, which is the official recommendation (20 percentage points more than Germans (27%)). Meanwhile, 20% of French people say that they already cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Finally, on addressing high energy prices, 43% of French people think that in the short term the government should reduce energy-related taxes (56% among far-right sympathisers). Other measures are less popular, such as capping or regulating the prices of gas, oil and coal (26%), or giving out energy vouchers (11%).

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “Ahead of the COP27 climate conference, the results of the EIB 2022 Climate Survey show that French citizens believe that accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency measures should be the priority in fighting the global energy and climate crisis. At the EIB we have been supporting innovative clean energy investments for many years, such as floating wind farms and more energy-efficient social housing. We stand ready to use our full range of advisory and financial instruments to support France in a just green energy transition that leaves no one behind.”

Download the Excel spreadsheet with the raw data for all 30 countries surveyed here. Please click here to access an EIB web page presenting key findings of the EIB Climate Survey IV.

Background information

About the EIB Climate Survey

The EIB has launched the fifth edition of the EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with the market research firm BVA, the fifth edition of the EIB Climate Survey aims to inform the broader debate on attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. More than 28 000 respondents participated in the survey in August 2022, with a representative panel of people aged 15 and above for each of the 30 countries polled.

About the EIB

Since 2019, the EIB has accelerated its transformation into a climate bank by committing to devoting at least 50% of its financing from 2025 to investments that contribute to the fight against climate change and the mitigation of its effects. In 2021, it already comfortably reached this target in France by devoting two-thirds of its €9.2 billion in investments to projects in renewable energy, the energy efficiency of buildings and the development of sustainable mobility.

About BVA

BVA is an opinion research and consulting firm recognised as one of the most innovative market research firms in its sector. Specialising in behavioural marketing, BVA combines data science and social science to make data inspiring and bring it to life. BVA is also a member of the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN), a global network of some of the world’s leading market research and survey players, with over 40 members.