Flights, meat and video streaming: what people are ready to give up
Regardless of where respondents live, people say that it would be easiest to give up flying to fight climate change (40% for Europeans, 38% Americans and 43% for Chinese respondents). This figure is even higher in Poland (46%), the Czech Republic (48%), Hungary (48%), Slovakia (48%) and Croatia (51%).
18% of Europeans say giving up video streaming would be the easiest option, 16% say that giving up meat would be the easiest, 15% say that giving up new clothes would be the easiest option while 11% say that giving up their car would be the easiest choice to make to fight climate change. In Europe, women (20%) are more likely to say that giving up meat would be the easiest option, compared to men (10%).
However, when presented with the opposite question, 39% of Europeans and 38% of Americans say that giving up their car would be the most difficult option. People living in rural areas (51%) say that giving up their car would be the hardest choice, along with people in Italy (46%), Slovenia (46%), Malta (49%) and Luxembourg (52%).
Pandemic and climate concerns affecting future travel plans
Health concerns are also transversal: when asked about COVID-19 and public transport, 75% of Americans, 71% of Chinese people and 67% of Europeans say they are less likely to use public transport because they are worried about their health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure is particularly high in Italy (77%), Romania (78%), Portugal (80%) and Malta (83%).
However, once travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are lifted, 37% of Chinese people, 22% of Europeans and 22% of Americans say they will avoid flying because of climate change concerns. 42% of European citizens say they would take their holidays in their own country or a nearby country to minimise carbon emissions. 29% of Europeans (compared to 29% of Chinese citizens and 35% of Americans) say they will resume travelling by plane as they did before the pandemic.
Can individual behaviours have an impact in fighting climate change?
Most respondents in China, the US and Europe say that they are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than about climate change.
But people still believe their choices and actions can contribute to the fight against climate change. 72% of European citizens believe that their own behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change. This conviction is shared by 72% of American and 84% of Chinese respondents. Compared to 2019, the number of people answering positively to this question increased everywhere, with an increase of three points in the EU, seven points in the US and 12 points in China.
Younger respondents are considerably more likely to believe their behaviour can make a difference in fighting climate change compared to older respondents in Europe and in the US, a gap that is not observed in China. The survey shows that in the EU, 77% of 15-29 year-olds believe their behaviour can make a difference compared to 64% of respondents aged 65 years or older. In the US, these figures are 75% and 56% respectively.