© Getty
  • 63% believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences should accelerate the green transition.
  • Despite the energy and inflation crisis, more than half of Belgians (54%) consider climate change and environmental degradation to be two of the three biggest challenges the country is facing.
  • 83% 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.
  • 61% give priority to heavily taxing highly polluting goods and services such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and air transport.
  • 56% 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, Belgians 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 Belgians last year, economic and financial issues now predominate, with 80% citing these as their top concerns.

Concerns over climate change and environmental degradation come second (54% now consider them to be the biggest challenges for Belgium). In addition, 73% of Belgians now say they feel the effects of climate change on their daily lives.

83% 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, 86% feel that the government is reacting too slowly, and only 33% think that Belgium will succeed in substantially reducing its carbon emissions by 2030.

War in Ukraine and green transition

Nearly two-thirds of Belgians (63%) 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, Belgians expect their government to prioritise the development of renewable energies (43%) before focusing on energy supply diversification to avoid being overly reliant on a single provider (35%).

Energy savings also ranks high in their priorities. Slightly more Belgians than the EU average believe that citizens and companies must do more to reduce their own consumption (22% compared with 19%). This is especially the case among the younger generation (27% of 15- to 29-year-olds).

Tackling climate change and addressing high energy prices

To reduce energy consumption, Belgians are in favour of heavily taxing highly polluting energy goods and services such as SUVs and air transport (61%). They also support the indexing of energy prices to the level of consumption per household (56%).

If Belgians were to lower the temperature in their homes this winter, only 32% of them would accept capping it at 19° C (compared with 45% of Dutch people and 47% of French people). Meanwhile, 22% of Belgians say that they already cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Finally, on addressing high energy prices, Belgians think that in the short term the government should reduce energy-related taxes (37%). Other measures are slightly less popular, such as capping or regulating the prices of gas, oil and coal (33%).

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters said: “Ahead of the COP27 climate conference, the results of the EIB 2022 Climate Survey show that Belgians 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 wind farms and more energy-efficient social housing. We stand ready to use our full range of advisory and financial instruments to support Belgium in a just green energy transition that leaves no one behind.”

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.

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.