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    What's the best way to fight climate change?

    2020-2021 EIB Climate Survey, part 3 of 3

    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.

    Europeans say changes in behaviour would be most effective in fighting climate change. But American and Chinese respondents are slightly more confident in technological innovation.

    Views on priorities for limiting climate change vary

    The third part of the survey, conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, finds that people around the world have different ideas of how best 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.

    On the other hand, 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 name this option as the best way to tackle the climate crisis.

     “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.” Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle

     

    Views within Europe vary as well. People in Portugal (51%), Slovakia (44%), Luxembourg (43%) and Germany (42%) believe that radical behaviour changes will have the biggest impact in fighting the climate crisis. But citizens in the Nordic and Baltic countries have more confidence in technological innovation (40% in Sweden, 38% in Finland, 36% in Denmark, 36% in Estonia, 37% in Latvia, 37% in Lithuania).

     

    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, cited by 49% of European and Chinese respondents and 47% of Americans. In fact, a majority of people in Poland (67%), Spain (60%), Greece (59%), Italy (59%), Portugal (58%) and Hungary (58%) think that the energy sector and the use of renewable energy sources should be prioritised in the fight against climate change.

    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).

    Explore results from the following countries

    40% of French people say the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    According to 40% of French citizens, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to fight climate change. 24% say new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 19% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects and 16% favour government regulation.

    To combat climate change, 50% of French respondents are in favour of banning products that will not last or are unrepairable. 48% say France needs improved recycling systems, and 38% of French respondents believe that expanding teleworking opportunities should be a priority action to tackle climate change, as it would reduce commuting.

    Moreover, 73% of French respondents say that successful climate action must take income gaps and social inequality into account (77% for the EU average).

    42% of Germans say the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    According to 42% of Germans, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to fight climate change. 28% say new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 16% favour government regulation and 14% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects.

    To address the climate crisis, nearly half of all Germans (48%) are in favour of banning products that will not last or are unrepairable. 43% say Germany requires better recycling systems to combat climate change. In addition, 36% of German citizens believe that banning products and services that emit the most greenhouse gases should be a priority.

    Concerning transport, 35% say they are in favour of a ban on short-distance flights (compared to the EU average of 26%), and 53% of German citizens want to see more efficient public transport services. However, Germans are less in favour of subsidising electric cars (20%) than the European average (40%).

    41% of Italians say the best way to fight change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    For 41% of Italian citizens, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to fight climate change. 25% say new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 22% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects and 12% favour government regulation.

    Nearly half of Italians say they are in favour of further developing public transport (47%), and 49% are in favour of subsidised electric cars. They are also in favour of reducing daily commuting to fight climate change: 38% say that expanding opportunities for teleworking to fight climate change should be a priority.

    However, Italians are less interested than other Europeans in stopping the production of products that will not last or cannot be repaired (35% compared to 48% for the EU average). But 83% stress that climate action measures must take income gaps and social inequality into account to be successful.

    39% of Dutch people say the best way to limit climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    According to 39% of Dutch citizens, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to limit climate change. 29% say new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 18% favour government regulation and 14% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects.

    29% of Dutch citizens would support limiting areas accessible by car in city centres. This is significantly higher than their fellow Europeans (16%). 44% of Dutch people favour expanding teleworking opportunities to reduce commuting, eight points higher than the EU average (36%).

    Nearly half of Dutch citizens are in favour of banning products that will not last or are unrepairable (48%). Furthermore, 74% of Dutch people say that successful climate action must take income gaps and social inequality into account.

    35% of Poles say the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    According to 35% of Polish citizens, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to fight climate change. 31% say new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 22% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects and 12% favour government regulation.

    A majority of Poles (67%) believe that increased use of renewable energy sources should be prioritised to fight climate change, which is significantly higher than the European average (49%) and the highest figure among all EU countries. This view is predominant among Polish people aged 65 years and older (85%) and those with a high income (72%).

    In addition, 54% of Poles believe subsidising electric cars should be a priority in the fight against climate change, significantly above the EU average (40%). Nearly two-thirds of all Polish citizens (65%) say their country needs better recycling systems to combat climate change, nine points above the European average.

    39% of Spanish respondents say the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in their individual habits

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    According to 39% of Spanish respondents, radically changing individual behaviours is the most effective way to limit climate change. On the other hand, 29% believe that new technologies will have the most significant impact, while 17% would prioritise public and private investment in climate-friendly projects.

    60% say changes in the energy sector (such as increased use of renewable energy resources) are the top priority in the fight against climate change, higher than their fellow Europeans (49%). 41% say that transport is the second-highest priority sector, with 55% of Spanish citizens claiming to be in favour of subsidies for electric cars (versus the EU average of 40%).

    In addition, more than half of Spanish citizens (52%) are in favour of banning products and services that produce the most greenhouse gases.

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