The majority of Europeans believe they need better services and infrastructure in order to tackle climate change. In some countries, however, such as Hungary, Finland, France and the Netherlands, most citizens would prefer financial aid or tax cuts, instead. Like Americans and the Chinese, Europeans prefer solutions that involve them less personally or that may have a positive impact on their wallets. These solutions include education on climate change and waste sorting, banning single-use plastics, free public transport and pedestrian-only areas in city centres.
Most Europeans also favour measures penalising the use of cars: 67% of Europeans support less space for cars in city centres and 67% support reducing speed limits. Respondents in China are even more willing to support these measures, with 90% favouring reduced space for cars in city centres and 88% backing lower speed limits. A majority of European respondents (59%) also support higher prices for food and goods that have a large carbon footprint, such as red meat, cell phones and food transported over long distances, which is 10 percentage points higher than the American average of 49%.
Improving how we travel
Citizens across the European Union, the United States and China support a broad range of policy initiatives to fight climate change. With regard to air travel, 62% of Europeans would support a ban on short-distance flights, compared to 49% of Americans and 80% of Chinese respondents.
In addition, a carbon tax on air travel is generally supported. However, the survey reveals significant differences in the level of backing: 93% of Chinese citizens support a carbon tax on air travel, compared to 72% of Europeans and only 60% of Americans. 84% of Europeans favour more pedestrian-only areas in city centres and 82% support a ban on high-emission vehicles in city centres.
Education, the carbon footprint of consumption and financial support for the clean energy transition
Respondents around the world widely favour using education to promote climate policies. 91% of Europeans, 97% of Chinese and 80% of Americans support the teaching of climate change and waste sorting in schools.
Concerning consumption, 85% of European respondents support a ban on single-use plastics such as plastic straws and cutlery, far above the 62% of those in the US who support the ban. However, only 59% of European citizens would support an increase in the price of food and goods, such as red meat and mobile phones, that have a significant carbon footprint, which is significantly lower than the Chinese average of 84%.
Furthermore, 82% of Europeans believe that communities and workers most affected by the transition to clean energy should receive financial support, compared to 68% of Americans and 93% of Chinese respondents.