Europeans less supportive of climate action if lifestyle changes: Poll
Europeans that were surveyed in seven selected European countries said they were willing to back policies aimed at fighting change, but policies leading to major changes in lifestyle were found to be unpopular.
A survey published by YouGov revealed that Europeans were less likely to support climate action if it involved effecting changes in their lifestyle.
About 1,000 respondents were interviewed in each country, including France, UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark. The survey was conducted between 5 and 24 April.
Europeans that were surveyed in seven selected European countries said they were willing to back policies aimed at fighting change that include banning single-use plastics, waning off fossil fuel cars, and purchasing less meat and dairy products. But policies aimed at effecting major changes in lifestyle were found to be unpopular.
According to the poll results, the majority of people surveyed in each country said they were very or fairly concerned about climate change.
These include 60% in Sweden, 63% in Germany and 65% in the UK, 77% in Spain, 79% in France, and 81% in Italy.
About similar percentages agreed that the climate was changing due to human activities and human-induced carbon emissions. In some countries, less than 20% of respondents said that climate change was not caused by human activities and that a maximum of 5% completely denied its existence.
Between 76% and 85% agreed that joint cooperation among all countries would be far more effective to deal with climate change.
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However, less people were in agreement about what actions individuals were willing to take to address this environmental issue with policies involving minor changes to people's lifestyle; between 45% (Germany) and 72% (Spain) supported government tree-planting programs, and 60% (Spain) and 77% (UK) say they would grow more plants themselves or reported they were doing so already.
The percentages of people who said they supported the ban of products made of single-use plastic varied between 40% (Denmark) and 56% (UK, Spain, and Italy). As for measures calling for a complete ban on such products, 63% in Sweden said they would be supportive of such a policy and 75% in Spain said alike.
Stronger policies unpopular
When asked if they would limit the consumption of meat and dairy to two to three times a week, positive responses ranged from 28% in Germany to 43% in Italy. In a similar vein, between 24% (in the UK) and 48% (in Italy) would back government legislation to that effect.
When asked if they would voluntarily stop eating meat and dairy, as well as have fewer children, 10% of respondents in Germany agreed, 19% in Italy, 9% in Germany, and 17% in Italy.
Government subsidies to cover energy bills were greatly favored among all countries, with support ranging from 86% in Spain to 67% in Germany, while those who reported they supported covering the cost personally ranged between 19% in Germany to 40% in Spain.
Frequent flyer levies also received a broad base of support with a majority of five out of seven countries reporting so. Responses reportedly ranged from 39% in Italy to 59% in Germany. However, fewer people expressed support for the idea of purchasing secondhand clothes, with responses ranging from 17% in Germany to 27% in the UK.
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With regards to cars, 19% in Germany, 32% in Denmark and 40% in Italy said they supported the idea of switching to an electric car. But when it came to the idea of giving up driving in favor of public transport, walking or cycling, 35% in France , 44% in Spain, and 40% in Italy responded positively.
In the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, support was far lower with percentages of 22%, 24%, 20%, and 21% respectively. About 25% of French and 28% of Germans said they had already commuted in ways other than driving, against 11% to 16% elsewhere.
Government legislation banning the production and sale of gas or diesel cars reported very low levels of support.
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