Poll suggests in Europe anti-climate hype is over: 9/10 see ‘serious problem’

A special European Commission poll shows general concern about climate change is again increasing and a majority thinks the climate crisis is ‘more important’ than the economic recession.

Europeans consider climate change bigger problem than recession

After The Climate Hype of 2007 and The Anti-Climate Hype of 2009, quite unexpectedly a trend seems to emerge through the bubbles and bursts – as public concern in EU member states seems to gradually rise again, with a very large number of respondents acknowledging a scientific problem.

In fact now – according to the poll (PDF) – just one in ten Europeans do not acknowledge ‘climate change is a serious problem’ [89% do].

The number of people that see climate change as ‘a very serious problem’ has increased from 64 to 68%. In Europe 20 percent of people now regard climate change as the single largest problem our planet faces, with only ‘poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water’ scoring higher on the list.

Perhaps most remarkable is that Europeans (again, according to this EC poll) are less concerned about the current economic crisis than they are about climate change.

From climate concerns to climate optimism

The poll offers more remarkable figures. In the EU 68% support basing taxation to a greater extent on energy use, with a majority in favour of this in every Member State.

The EC report states “There is a widespread expectation that Europe will become a climate-friendly, low-carbon economy by 2050:” 88% believe Europe will be using more renewable energy, 87% expect we will be more energy-efficient, 73% believe that cars will be powered more efficiently.

A majority thinks tackling climate change is mainly the responsibility of national governments, the EU and business.

Climate change as problem in Europe

In Europe climate change is on average perceived as the world’s second-largest problem. Differences per EU Member State are rather large though. People in for instance Spain, Germany and Sweden seem most concerned; while people in Greece seem momentarily a bit preoccupied.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org

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