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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has released the findings of its Latin American and Caribbean edition of the EIB Climate Survey. The poll, conducted in May 2023, gathered responses from more than 10 500 participants from 13 countries in the region[1]. The survey aims to understand how people perceive climate change, what impact it has on them, and what they expect governments to do about it.

Key findings

  • 91% of respondents believe climate change impacts their everyday lives.
  • 88% are in favour of stricter government measures obliging people to adopt climate-friendly behaviour.
  • 70% say that climate change is affecting their income or livelihood.
  • 54% of respondents believe they may have to relocate to another region or country due to climate change.
  • 80% feel that we should be focusing on investments in renewable energy sources.

The EIB Climate Survey results show that climate change and environmental degradation are now considered to be among the top challenges in most Latin American and Caribbean countries polled, alongside violence and crime, poverty and inequality, unemployment, and social disparities. It is only in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay that they do not make the top five concerns. 
Overall, the region has a relatively low percentage of climate change deniers, averaging at 5% per country. However, the levels vary, with Argentina recording the highest rate at 9%, while in Costa Rica it is less than 2%. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents in the region recognise that human actions such as the burning of fossil fuels are the primary contributors to climate change. This awareness is crucial in gaining public support for policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact on everyday life and the economic toll

Among the respondents, 91% say they feel the effects of climate change in their daily lives. This percentage is notably high in all countries surveyed, from 84% in Uruguay to a massive 96% in El Salvador. 57% of all respondents are even saying it affects them “very much.” This reflects the tangible consequences of extreme weather events and environmental degradation. Moreover, 70% of respondents say that climate change is negatively affecting their income or source of livelihood. This sentiment is shared by a majority in each country, with the figures ranging from 58% in Uruguay to more than three-quarters (77%) in Peru.

Concern over climate-related migration

A striking finding from the survey is that 54% of respondents think they may have to move to another region or country due to climate change. In nine out of the 13 countries surveyed, over half of the population believes so (from around 50% in Argentina to 61% in Ecuador). This sentiment is even stronger among younger respondents, with 59% of all those under 30 sharing this belief.

Public support for government action

88% of those surveyed are in favour of the government implementing stricter measures to combat climate change. This sentiment is overwhelmingly prevalent across the region, with the figures ranging from 83% in Argentina and Brazil to an impressive 95% in Peru. This demonstrates a willingness to accept changes in policy and lifestyle for the sake of long-term environmental sustainability.
When asked what the government’s main goal should be, 80% of respondents said that the focus should be on the environment and sustainable growth rather than on economic growth at any cost. This shows that the public is aware of the link between environmental health and economic prosperity and is not only concerned about immediate economic gains. 

Policies to fight climate change and its repercussions and to protect the environment are perceived positively by respondents in the region. 76% of respondents believe that these policies will improve their day-to-day lives, for example by making it easier to buy food or access healthcare.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) believe that these policies will be a source of economic growth and wealth for their country, and more than two-thirds (68%) are confident that they will create more jobs than they remove.

Future-oriented energy choices

80% of respondents say that governments should prioritise investments in renewable energy over fossil fuels or other non-renewable energy sources. 51% would prefer large-scale renewable sources such as hydro, wind, solar or geothermal power plants, while 29% would favour smaller renewable sources like rooftop solar panels or small hydro plants.

This overwhelming preference for renewable energy investments reflects a growing awareness among Latin Americans and Caribbeans of the importance of sustainability and the role of clean energy in combating climate change.

Ricardo Mourinho Félix, EIB vice-president in charge of Latin America and the Caribbean, and economic research, said:

“The EIB Climate Survey reflects the growing consciousness and concern among people in Latin America and the Caribbean regarding the dangers of climate change. Through EIB Global, we aim to build partnerships with governments, cities and businesses in the region to support climate action on the ground through green and resilient investments. We encourage potential clients to contact our Bogotá office.”

Ambroise Fayolle, EIB vice-president in charge of climate, said:

“The EIB Climate Survey results from Latin America and the Caribbean highlight a strong public awareness that the green transition can be a driving force for economic growth. At the EIB, we are steadfast in our commitment to assist the region in accelerating the green transition and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

Want to know more?

All data from the survey are available here

About the EIB:

The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB brings the experience and expertise of our in-house engineers and economists to help develop and appraise top quality projects. As an AAA-rated, policy-driven EU financial institution, the EIB offers attractive financial terms, including competitive interest rates and project-aligned loan durations. Through our partnerships with the European Union and other donors, we can also provide grants to further improve the development impact of the projects we support.

About EIB Global in Latin America:

EIB Global has been providing economic support for projects in Latin America since 2022, facilitating long-term investment with favourable conditions and providing the technical support needed to ensure that these projects deliver positive social, economic and environmental results. Since the EIB began operating in Latin America in 1993, it has provided total financing of around €13 billion to support more than 150 projects in 15 countries in the region.

About the Global Gateway initiative:

EIB Global is a key partner in the implementation of the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative, supporting sound projects that improve global and regional connectivity in the digital, climate, transport, health, energy and education sectors. Investing in connectivity is at the very heart of what EIB Global does, building on the Bank’s 65 years of experience in this domain. Alongside our partners, fellow EU institutions and EU Member States, we aim to support investment of €100 billion (around one-third of the overall volume of the initiative) by the end of 2027, including in Colombia and the rest of Latin America.

About BVA:

BVA is an international market research firm specialising in consumer insights and data analysis. BVA partners with various organisations to provide comprehensive market research and survey results.

[1] Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.