The majority of Europeans say they are concerned about the effects of climate change. Many of them, however, are not willing want to change their lifestyle to actually curb global warming, according to data from a YouGov poll. People from the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Italy were included in the survey.
The effects of climate change such as extreme heat, fires, floods, do cause worry to most Europeans. Between 60% (Sweden) and 81% (Italy) of respondents say they are concerned about the current challenges and are ready to support political initiatives to combat it. This proportion is 63% in Germany, 65% in the UK, 77% in Spain and 79% in France. On the other hand, the poll also showed that participants supported measures “that would not greatly affect the way they lead their lives. And the necessary bigger steps were unpopular,” as reported by The Guardian.
1. Unwillingness to reduce meat consumption
Planting trees is supported by 45% (Germany) to 72% (Spain) of respondents and banning single-use plastic products by 63% (Sweden) to 75% (Spain). Between 67% and 86% of Europeans surveyed welcome government support for home energy renovation.
Between 28% (Germany) and 43% (Italy) of respondents say they are prepared to limit their consumption of meat or dairy products to two or three meals a week. Stopping the consumption of these foods completely is even less supported in European countries (between 10% approval in Germany and 19% in Italy for the highest score). Similarly, limiting the number of children per person is supported by only 9 to 17% of respondents.
2. Car usage and fossil fuels
When asked about the possibility of changing their internal combustion engine car for an electric car, only 19% of Germans were in favor, a rate that rises to 42% in Denmark and 40% in Italy. The French seem to be more sensitive to the fact of favoring soft mobility over the car, with 35% of them saying they are in favor of public transport, cycling and walking over driving. This is less than in Spain (44%) and Italy (40%) but much more than in the United Kingdom (22%), Germany (24%), Denmark (20%) and Sweden (21%). However, these rates are still below the symbolic 50% mark, which has been largely achieved by less restrictive measures.
Increases in the prize of fuel and government policy banning the production and sale of fossil fuels were not popular. The number of individuals unwilling to paying more fuel tax was always higher than those in favor of an increase, in all countries. Only in Spain and Italy is a majority of respondents in favor of a ban. In France and Germany, more than 60% of respondents are opposed.