According to the 2022-2023 edition of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Climate Survey, 66 per cent of people surveyed in the European Union believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences should accelerate the green transition. And, 84 per cent of EU respondents recognise 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. Finally, when asked about another major challenge of today, 63 per cent of people surveyed want energy prices to be tied to consumption, with the biggest consumers charged more.
Overall, to reduce energy consumption, 64 per cent of EU respondents want polluting activities, such as air travel and SUVs, to be taxed more heavily to account for their environmental cost. And, on addressing high energy prices, 40 per cent of respondents from the EU think that in the short term, the government should first reduce energy-related taxes. In contrast, other measures, such as capping or regulating the price of gas, oil and coal, are more favoured by British, Chinese and American respondents.
“The results of the EIB 2022 Climate Survey show that, for people around the world, the crisis is also an opportunity to accelerate the transition of our economies towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient future,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “At the EIB, we have been supporting innovative clean energy investments for many years. As part of our transformation into the EU climate bank, we stand ready to continue using our full range of financial and advisory instruments to support the acceleration of our partners’ green transition efforts, including through the implementation of the REPowerEU plan, while making sure we leave no people or place behind.”
Altogether, countries from Central and Eastern Europe have become even more acutely aware of the impact of climate change and the urgency with which they must act. However, they all expect their government to prioritise the development of renewable energies before focusing on energy supply diversification to avoid being overly reliant on a single energy provider. And, energy savings are not a priority. For example, fewer Bulgarians than the EU average believe that citizens and companies must do more to reduce their own consumption (13 per cent compared with 19 per cent). Among Croats, this percentage stands at 12 per cent, 14 per cent among Hungarians and 18 per cent among Czechs.
When it comes to linking the war in Ukraine and its consequences on the prices of oil and gas to the acceleration of the green transition, CEE citizens lead the survey with Croatia, Hungary and Romania ranking in the top 10.
In particular, 91 per cent of Hungarians say they feel the effects of climate change on their daily lives (an increase of 4 percentage points since 2021) and 86 per cent of them 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. However, when it comes to responses, they are pessimistic: 90 per cent feel that the government is reacting too slowly and only 35 per cent think that Hungary will succeed in substantially reducing its carbon emissions by 2030.