© Getty
  • 77% believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences should accelerate the green transition.
  • Despite the energy and inflation crisis, nearly half of Italians (44%) consider climate change to be the biggest challenge the country is facing (an increase of 5 percentage points compared to last year), particularly those aged 65 and over (the figure for this group has increased by 10 percentage points).
  • 89% 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.
  • 71% are in favour of indexing energy prices to the level of consumption per household.

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.

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, Italians have become even more acutely aware of the impact of climate change and the urgency to act.

Climate change awareness and urgency

While COVID-19 was considered the number one challenge for Italians last year, concerns over unemployment now dominate, with 48% citing it as their top concern compared to 26% across the rest of the European Union.

Concerns over climate change come right after unemployment and are increasing rapidly (44% now consider it to be the biggest challenge, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to 2021). This figure is particularly high among Italians aged 65 and over (53%, up 10 percentage points on 2021).

89% 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, 93% feel that the government has been too slow to act, and only 32% think that Italy will succeed in substantially reducing its carbon emissions by 2030.

War in Ukraine and green transition

Three-quarters of Italians (77%) say that the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the price of oil and gas should accelerate the green transition (11 percentage points more than the European average of 66%). When asked to rank their energy priorities, Italians expect their government to first prioritise the development of renewable energies (55%) before focusing on energy supply diversification to avoid being overly reliant on a single provider (29%).

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Tackling climate change and addressing high energy prices

To reduce energy consumption, Italians are in favour of indexing energy prices to the level of consumption per household (71%). They also support heavily taxing highly polluting energy consumption like SUVs and air transport (68%).

If Italians were to lower the temperature in their homes this winter, 32% would accept to cap it to 19° Celsius (15 percentage points less than French people (47%) but 5 percentage points more than Germans (27%)). Meanwhile, 25% of Italians say they already cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Finally, on addressing the high energy prices, Italians think that in the short term, the government should reduce energy-related taxes (38%). Other measures are less popular, such as capping or regulating the price of gas, oil and coal (28%) or giving away energy vouchers (11%).

EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti said: “The EIB 2022 Climate Survey results show that Italians are aware that accelerating the development of renewable energy production is the only way to ensure our strategic autonomy while fighting the climate crisis. As the EU climate bank, the EIB stands ready to use our full range of advisory and financial instruments to support Italy in a just green energy transition that leaves no one behind.”

Background information

About the EIB Climate Survey

The European Investment Bank has launched the fifth edition of the EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with 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 European Investment Bank (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. In 2021, it already comfortably reached this target in Italy by devoting two-thirds of its €9.2 billion in investments to projects in renewable energy, the energy efficiency of buildings and the development of sustainable mobility.

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.