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The third release of the 2020-2021 EIB Climate Survey explores people’s expectations in terms of public policies to tackle climate change. The results focus on what measures people believe can help the shift to a green economy.

  • 39% of Europeans say the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits. 29% count instead on technological innovation.
  • 35% of Chinese people and 34% of Americans say the most effective way to fight climate change is through technological innovation; 32% of respondents in China and 31% in the US have more confidence in the role of individual behaviour changes.
  • 36% of Europeans and Americans wish to expand teleworking to reduce commuting and fight climate change.

Views on priorities for limiting climate change vary around the world. People in China (35%) and the United States (34%) believe technological improvements (e.g. innovation, digitalisation, development of renewable energy) are the most effective way to fight climate change. Meanwhile, 29% of Europeans named this option as the best way to tackle the climate crisis.

In Europe, 39% cite a radical change in their habits (consumption, transport, etc.) as the most appropriate way to fight climate change. For Chinese respondents (32%) and Americans (31%), this option is ranked as the second most effective way to limit climate change.

These are some of the results from the third release of the 2020-2021 Climate Survey 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.

Public divided on the main motive for reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Nearly half of Europeans (48%) and Americans (45%) say that the top reason for reducing fossil fuel use is that the world’s reserves will soon be depleted, or to become more independent from other countries’ resources. 24% of Europeans and 24% of Americans believe the main reason for reducing fossil fuel use is to reduce local pollution.

While similar trends are observed in the European Union and the United States, results differ considerably in China, with 33% of respondents citing reduced use of fossil fuels as an opportunity to reduce local pollution. This answer ranked at the top of the options from which Chinese respondents were asked to choose.

A global call for renewable energy and cleaner transport

Regardless of where respondents live, energy is seen as a priority sector in the fight against climate change. Globally, there is a call to prioritise climate action in the domain of energy, and specifically to increase the use of renewable energy sources, being cited by 49% of European and Chinese respondents and 47% of Americans.

For Chinese respondents, heavily taxing highly polluting cars (52%) and further developing public transportation (47%) should also be prioritised in the fight against climate change. European and American respondents are more likely to mention subsidies for electric cars (cited by 40% of Europeans and 37% of Americans) and the need to expand teleworking opportunities to reduce commuting (mentioned by 36% of Europeans and Americans). 

When it comes to climate action and urban mobility, respondents identify increasing the efficiency of public transport as the top priority – this option is cited by 55% of Europeans, 54% of Chinese respondents and 47% of Americans. People in China stand out as being especially inclined to support bans on high-emission vehicles in city centres (50% are in favour compared to 34% of Europeans and 33% of Americans).

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle stated: “People across Europe are sending us an encouraging message. They firmly believe in the power of their individual behaviour to address the climate crisis. Meanwhile, a strong majority of Europeans believe that climate action must take social inequalities into account in order to be successful – no one should be left behind in the green transition. This is crucial. As part of our transformation into the EU climate bank, it is our role to help individuals take action by financing sustainable mobility services and circular economy solutions. In addition, our Climate Survey shows that people believe in technological innovation to fight climate change. At the EIB, we have been supporting the green transition for many years, but much remains to be done. We need to drastically scale up and accelerate our efforts, and explore different, innovative and disruptive solutions to help people move towards a more sustainable future. This is what we are committed to doing through our new Climate Bank Roadmap underpinning the European Green Deal.”

Explore the results for all 30 countries surveyed here.

Background information

About the EIB Climate Survey

The European Investment Bank has launched the third edition of the EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, the 3rd edition of the EIB Climate Survey aims to inform the broader debate on attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. More than 30,000 respondents participated in the Survey between 5 October – 2 November 2020, with a representative panel for each of the 30 countries surveyed.

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 and is the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects. The EIB Group has recently adopted its Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030 and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. As part of the Roadmap, all new EIB Group operations will also be aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement from the start of 2021.

About BVA

BVA is an opinion research and consulting firm recognised as one of the most innovative market research firms in its sector. Specialised 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.

Contact: Thomas Froimovici, t.fromovici@eib.org, tel.: +352 43 79 83249