This year’s edition of the Climate Survey released by the European Investment Bank (EIB) explored people’s attitudes and views on climate change in a rapidly changing world. The results from this release focus on how people intend to fight climate change in 2021, what they are willing to give up to tackle the climate crisis and how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their travel habits and intentions to fight climate change.
“The post-COVID-19 period will provide an opportunity to take a quantum leap in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “A green recovery could help us accelerate the significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions that is needed by 2030. People around the world are conscious that their individual behaviour can make a difference. As the EU climate bank, our role at the EIB is to accelerate this green transition through the financing of clean energy, sustainable mobility solutions and innovations that will enable people to change their habits in order to fight climate change.”
In general, 72 per cent of Europeans believe their own behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change. But only 19 per cent of them are actually making radical lifestyle changes to fight climate change, compared to 27 per cent of Americans.
Given the choice between giving up flying, meat, new clothes, video streaming services or their car to fight climate change, 39 per cent of Europeans said that giving up their car would be the most difficult. Especially in the current situation, 67 per cent of Europeans said they are currently less likely to use public transport because of health concerns.
On the other hand, it would be easiest to give up flying to fight climate change. This figure was particularly high in Central and Eastern Europe, with 51 per cent of Croatians ready to give-up flying and take their holidays in their own country or a nearby country to minimise carbon emissions. Also in Poland (46 per cent), the Czech Republic (48 per cent), Hungary (48 per cent) and Slovakia (48 per cent) this figure was higher than the EU average (40 per cent).
Regarding the other options, 18 per cent of Europeans said giving up video streaming would be the easiest option, 16 per cent say that giving up meat would be the easiest, especially among women and 15 per cent say that giving up new clothes would be the easiest option.
Polish citizens resulted to be at the forefront in the fight against climate change as 75 per cent believe that it has an impact on their everyday lives and that their individual actions can make a difference. On top of that, 26 per cent of respondents stated that they are making radical lifestyle changes to reduce their contribution to climate change. This is seven points higher than the European average (19 per cent).
Can individual behaviours really have an impact in fighting climate change? Currently, most respondents in China, the US and Europe say that they are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than about climate change. Yet, they believe their choices and actions can contribute to the fight against climate change.
In particular, younger respondents were the ones more likely to believe their behaviour can make a difference in fighting climate change compared to older respondents: 77 per cent of 15-29 year-olds believe their behaviour can make a difference, compared to 64 per cent of respondents aged 65 or older.
Young generations have started to raise their voices in demanding we change the way we live so that they can have a better future and they could really be the key to save the planet.