Climate Action

Overwhelming support from Europeans for collective global action on climate change

Overwhelming support from Europeans for collective global action on climate change
25/11/2015

More than nine out of ten people in the European Union (93%) believe that fighting climate change will only be effective if all countries of the world act together, according to a special Eurobarometer opinion poll on climate change published today. With just days to go until the start of the landmark climate summit in Paris, the survey shows that climate change remains a key concern for the European public, with 91% considering it a serious problem.

The survey also revealed a high level of personal action being taken across the EU, with more than nine in ten (93%) reporting they have taken some action, reducing and recycling waste being the most common activity mentioned.

Citizens also believe that action on climate change has many additional benefits. For example, 81% think that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently could boost the European economy and create jobs, while 65% agree that reducing fossil fuel imports would be good for the economy and for Europe’s energy security.

Some key results of the survey:

  • Altogether, 91% of respondents see climate change as a serious problem, with 69% considering it a very serious problem. Almost half of all Europeans (47%) think that climate change is one of the world's most serious problems and around one in six (15%) think it is the single most serious problem that the world faces.
  • There is an overwhelming consensus that tackling climate change requires a collective global effort. More than nine out of ten respondents (93%) agree that fighting climate change will only be effective if all countries of the world act together.
  • Almost half (49%) of EU citizens say they took some kind of action to combat climate change over the last six months. When prompted with specific actions, however, the proportion rises to 93%, showing an increase from 2013 (+4 percentage points). There has been a significant increase in all action areas compared to 2013, in particular in the proportion of Europeans buying local and seasonal produce (49%, compared to 36% in 2013) and environmentally-friendly products (42%, compared to 36% in 2013).
  • Reducing and separating waste for recycling is the most common action undertaken, with almost three-quarters (74%) having done this (+5 percentage points from 2013). Buying fewer disposable items comes second. Some 57% of Europeans (+6 percentage points from 2013) say they try to cut down on disposable items, such as plastic bags from supermarkets and excessive packaging.
  • More than nine in ten Europeans (92%) think it is important that their government provides support for improving energy efficiency by 2030, with more than half (52%) saying it is “very important”. 
  • Similarly, just over nine in ten Europeans (91%) say it is important that their government sets targets to increase the amount of renewable energy used by 2030, with a small increase in those who say it is “very important” (52%, +3 percentage points from 2013).