• Large  majority of Europeans well aware of the climate change issue but 20% still not feeling concerned despite recent IPCC warnings
  • 14% US citizens sceptical about the reality of climate change vs 7% of Europeans
  • 55% of Europeans expect personal negative financial impacts due to climate change, vs 40% of Chinese and 45% in the US
  • Citizens with lower income more worried by the negative economic impact of climate actions than high-income ones in Europe, except in Poland

Ahead of the global climate conference COP24, taking place in Poland on 3-14 December 2018, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a first-of-its-kind citizens climate survey, in partnership with the global public opinion company YouGov, to find out how 25 000 citizens  in the European Union, the United States and China,  feel about climate change. Today the EIB is presenting the findings of the first two parts of its survey.

Despite encouraging trends in climate awareness across Europe, the survey shows that 20% of EU citizens still do not feel concerned when thinking about climate change. When compared to the United States and China, Europeans have a much stronger understanding of the challenges of climate change.  78% of Europeans describe themselves as being concerned or alarmed about climate change compared to 65% in China and 63% in the US.

The survey also revealed that there is only a very small proportion of sceptical Europeans, 7% compared with 14% of US citizens who express scepticism about climate change. 

Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice President responsible for climate action and environment said: “The EIB Climate Survey sends an important signal to delegates at COP24 in Katowice, that citizens are increasingly aware of the challenges posed by climate change. This is key to the international climate debate, because citizens already are making a difference through their individual actions. It is now up to businesses, citizens, governments at all levels and public institutions to use this momentum and work together. The EIB stands ready to play its part”.

Regarding the public’s perception of the impact of climate action on job creation and economic growth, the survey found that EU citizens are more pessimistic than their Chinese and US counterparts: Europeans express greater concern about the financial impact of climate change. 55% of Europeans consider that the financial impact of climate change will affect them personally – as compared to 40% of Chinese and 45% of US respondents. According to the survey, Americans are also the most optimistic regarding the economic benefits of measures to combat climate change: 26% believe the effect of climate action can be positive on the economy in contrast to  only 21% of Europeans and 11% of Chinese.  

Against this backdrop, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is committed to serve as one of the largest sources of finance worldwide to fight climate change: the EIB has invested over EUR 130bn globally, supporting the delivery of over EUR 600bn in climate action investment since 2011 – roughly the equivalent of the Polish GDP.

Monica Scatasta, the Head of Environment, Climate and Social Policy at the EIB, said: “Finance is a key factor in the global fight against climate change and its negative impacts. At the EIB, we strongly believe that financing climate action is also key to harness growth and innovation opportunities. We are convinced that measures aimed at addressing climate change can also generate sizeable benefits for economic growth and create a significant number of new jobs. But public finance alone, including from international institutions, is not sufficient. Investors, entrepreneurs and all economic actors have a role to play against the threats of climate change. At the EIB we are working alongside our partners to help mobilise these forces for climate action”.

Key charts

Climate change seen by EU citizens – strong contrast between North and South in the EU

EIB climate survey

EIB climate survey

Climate change perception: comparing the EU with the USA and China

EIB climate survey

In terms of levels of concern towards climate change, the EU comes first, ahead of China and the USA. Climate change doubters or deniers are more likely to be found in the USA.

EIB climate survey

The economic potential of climate action in the world – mixed feelings

Within the EU, the level of optimism varies greatly, with Malta and Cyprus being the most optimistic regarding the economic potential of climate action and the Czech Republic and Slovakia being the least optimistic about its potential.

EIB climate survey

EIB climate survey

EIB climate survey

Country-specific findings

The related resources compile results in local languages on how citizens from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden feel towards climate change and the economic potential of climate action.

First survey Second survey
France France
Germany Germany
Italy Italy
Poland Poland
Spain Spain
Sweden Sweden

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries. It is the world’s largest multilateral financier of climate-related investment with USD 100 billion committed for climate action in the five years up to 2020 in support of the Paris Agreement. The EIB has committed at least 25% of its investments to climate change mitigation and adaptation, rising to 35% in developing countries by 2020. With EUR 19.4 billion dedicated to climate action in 2017, the EIB exceeded its target for the eighth year running.

Join EIB at COP24: http://www.eib.org/cop24

About the EIB citizens climate survey

The European Investment Bank partnered with global public opinion and data company YouGov to conduct a thorough assessment of citizens’ sentiments towards climate change. The survey aims to inform the broader debate on climate change and understand citizens’ attitudes and expectations in terms of climate actions. There will be six releases of the EIB Climate Survey’s data in 2018 and 2019, with each series of data corresponding to a specific theme and area of focus. 25 000 respondents participated in the survey, with a representative panel for each country.

EIB citizens climate survey: http://www.eib.org/surveys/index

About YouGov

YouGov is an international data and analytics group. Its core offering of opinion data is derived from its highly participative panel of 6 million people worldwide. YouGov combines this continuous stream of data with its deep research expertise and broad industry experience in a systematic research and marketing platform.

Contact: Thomas Froimovici: t.froimovici@eib.org, Tel: +352 691 284 262