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  • 67% believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences should accelerate the green transition.
  • 67% 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.
  • 56% are in favour of indexing energy prices to the level of consumption per household: the more you consume, the more expensive energy becomes.

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. The results of the EIB 2022 Climate Survey come at a critical time, just ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), which will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022.

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, Latvians 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 facing Latvians last year, concerns over inflation now predominate, with 57% citing it as their top concern, compared with 36% across the rest of the European Union.

Meanwhile, the majority of Latvians (57%) now say they feel the effects of climate change on their daily lives.

67% 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, 75% feel that the government is reacting too slowly, and only 39% think that Latvia will succeed in substantially reducing its carbon emissions by 2030.

War in Ukraine and green transition

Two-thirds of Latvians (67%) believe that the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the prices of oil and gas should accelerate the green transition (close to the European average of 66%).

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

When asked to rank their energy priorities, Latvians expect their government to prioritise energy supply diversification to avoid being overly reliant on a single provider (42%), as well as prioritising the development of renewable energies (40%).

Tackling climate change and addressing high energy prices

To reduce energy consumption, the majority of Latvians are in favour of indexing the price of energy to the level of consumption of each household (56%). This is followed by lowering speed limits on motorways (47%), and heavily taxing goods and services that have a strong impact on climate and the environment, such as air transport and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) (43%).

If Latvians were to lower the temperature in their homes this winter, 22% of them would accept capping it at 19° C (6 percentage points below the EU average of 28%). Meanwhile, 28% of Latvians say that they already cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Finally, on addressing high energy prices, Latvians think that in the short term the government should reduce energy-related taxes (52%). Other measures are less popular, such as capping or regulating the prices of gas, oil and coal (22%), or giving out energy vouchers (7%).

EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros said: “The results of the EIB 2022 Climate Survey show that Latvians are very concerned over the energy situation following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, they also believe that further developing renewable energy should be a priority in fighting the global energy and climate crisis. At the EIB we have been supporting innovative clean energy investments as well as energy-saving plans for many years. For example, while recognising that Latvia is already one of the leading countries in the use of renewable energy, back in 2020 we signed a loan agreement with the Latvian national promotional institution ALTUM to finance energy-efficiency projects by Latvian companies. This is a great example of how EIB support can help accelerate the just green energy transition in Latvia – and we stand ready to use our full range of financial and advisory instruments to continue doing so.”

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. 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.