Over half think that the transition to a green economy should be sped up (58%) in the face of energy price spikes and concerns over gas supplies after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. From an economic perspective, 73% of Europeans agree that the cost of damage due to climate change is much higher than the investment needed for a green transition. And three quarters (75%) of Europeans agree that taking action on climate will lead to innovation.
Support for emissions reductions, renewables and energy efficiency
Almost nine in ten EU citizens (88%) agree that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to a minimum, while offsetting the remaining emissions to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. Close to nine in ten Europeans (87%) think it is important that the EU sets ambitious targets to increase renewable energy use, and a similar number (85%) believe that it is important for the EU to take action to improve energy efficiency, for example by encouraging people to insulate their home, install solar panels or buy electric cars. Seven in ten respondents (70%) believe that reducing fossil fuel imports can increase energy security and benefit the EU economically.
Citizens committed to individual action and structural reform
A large majority of EU citizens are already taking individual climate action (93%) and consciously making sustainable choices in their daily lives. However, when asked who is responsible for tackling climate change, citizens underlined the need for other reforms to accompany individual action, pointing also to the responsibility of national governments (56%), the EU (56%) and business and industry (53%).
European citizens also feel the threat of climate change in their daily lives. On average, over a third of Europeans feel personally exposed to environmental and climate-related risks and threats, with more than half feeling this way in 7 Member States, mostly in Southern Europe but also in Poland and Hungary. 84% of Europeans agree that tackling climate change and environmental issues should be a priority to improve public health, while 63% of those surveyed agree that preparing for the impacts of climate change can have positive outcomes for EU citizens.
Special Eurobarometer 538 on Climate Change surveyed 26,358 EU citizens from different social and demographic groups across all 27 EU Member States. The survey was carried out between 10 May and 15 June 2023. All interviews were conducted face to face, either physically in people's homes or through remote video interaction.
The results of the latest “Spring 2023 – Standard Eurobarometer” recently published on 10 July are fully in line with those in this dedicated survey on Climate Change. The standard Eurobarometer showed that EU citizens continue to back overwhelmingly the energy transition, consider environment and climate change as one of the important issues facing the EU, and expect massive investment in renewables.
The European Green Deal has the highest priority for the European Commission. It will transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive green economy, leaving no person and no place behind. The European Climate Law sets a legally binding climate neutrality objective by 2050 and introduces the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, with the so-called ‘Fit for 55' package of legislative proposals. This legislative package is currently well advanced toward adoption. Recent progress on the Nature Restoration Law, the Deforestation Regulation, and initiatives to promote Sustainable Products and reduce Packaging Waste will likewise ensure that the European Union halts biodiversity loss and transitions to a circular economy.
European citizens understand the threat of climate change, and continue to support climate action by the EU, national governments, business and individuals. They recognise the long-term risks posed by the climate and biodiversity crises but also the opportunity that we have to build a brighter, healthier and safer future if we act now on the green transition. The results of this survey are a powerful reminder that popular support to advance with the European Green Deal remains as high as ever. It is up to politicians and decision-makers to heed that call.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal - 20/07/2023
- Publication date
- 20 July 2023 (Last updated on: 20 July 2023)
- Representation in Cyprus