Public support for climate action
The European Commission regularly conducts Eurobarometer opinion polls of public attitudes towards climate change in all EU member states. These surveys consistently show high levels of public concern about climate change and of public support for climate action across the EU.
The latest survey, published in March 2014, found that four out of five people in the EU recognise that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment. This is slightly higher than in the previous poll in 2011, when 78% agreed.
Several member states which suffered most in the economic and financial crisis are among the countries where recognition of the economic benefits of climate action and energy efficiency is highest. In no Member State did fewer than 65% of respondents agree.
The survey also found that seven in ten citizens agree that reducing fossil fuel imports from outside the EU could bring economic benefits.
90% see climate change as serious problem
Nine out of ten Europeans consider climate change a serious problem. A large majority - 69% - believe it a 'very serious' problem and 21% a 'fairly serious' problem. Only 9% do not consider it a serious problem. On a scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most), the seriousness of climate change was ranked at 7.3. This compares with scores of 7.4 in 2011 and 7.1 in 2009.
The vast majority of Europeans support national action on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Some 92% of respondents think it is important for their governments to provide support for improving energy efficiency by 2030, with just over half (51%) saying this is 'very important'. For renewable energy, 90% find it important for their government to set targets to increase use of renewables by 2030, with 49% considering this 'very important'.
Some 50% of Europeans say they have taken some kind of action to fight climate change in the past six months, slightly down from 53% in 2011. However, when prompted with a list of specific actions they might have taken, and with no timescale specified, the proportion rises to 89%, up from 85% in 2011. The most common actions are reducing and recycling waste (69%) and trying to cut use of disposable items (51%).