Not all Europeans are ready to change their bad habits – emancipation

A YouGov survey of seven countries in Europe highlights the disparities in the actions citizens expect to take to combat global warming.

Only one constant emerges from this study. In Sweden, Germany, the UK, Spain, France and Italy, European citizens are concerned about climate change and its effects, a YouGov poll of 9,000 people across the seven countries showed. As a result of decades of awareness raising, particularly through IPCC reports, less than 20% of respondents said that climate change was not caused by human activity. On the other hand, 5% try to deny that it happened. But the purpose of this study is to Published by Guardian, was above all to test European support for more or less restrictive state climate action. This reveals many differences between countries.

Plant trees yes, don’t ban cars

You don’t exaggerate. Responses to this survey suggest that many people support measures that do not affect their lifestyles too much. On the other hand, what is needed to combat climate change is unpopular. 45% of Germans and 72% of Spaniards support government tree planting programs. A measure whose impact on climate is questionable. The same goes for single-use plastics: the majority of those questioned would be happy to never buy products made from these polluting materials again (56% in the UK, Spain and Italy). 63% of Swedes and 75% of Spaniards would also support a government ban on these products.

Activities that do not involve major sacrifices in daily life. Because when we deal with actions that have a real impact on the fight against climate change, the answers are far less unanimous. When asked if they were ready to switch to an electric car (which should not be too heavy to avoid more pollution) a little less than a third of those questioned in seven countries – from 19% in Germany to 40% in Italy, over 32% in Denmark – answered affirmatively. When asked what they think of a ban on fossil fuel cars, only Spain and Italy outnumber those in favor of the idea. The two most hostile countries? 60% of respondents are against France and Germany.

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An impossible joint struggle?

Responses are also different when it comes to ditching the car altogether in favor of public transport, walking or cycling. In France, Spain and Italy 35%, 44% and 40% of respondents respectively say they are ready to take the plunge. Support is lowest in the UK (22%), Germany (24%), Denmark (20%) and Sweden (21%). For their part, 25% of French people already say they walk, cycle or use public transport rather than driving, compared with 11% to 16% elsewhere.

Given the disparities between countries, it seems difficult to imagine that the European fight against climate change will be achieved by unanimity. However, between 76% and 85% of European citizens believe that the fight would be more effective if countries acted together. Recently, the European Union verified a ban on the sale of thermal cars by 2035. Poland voted against while Italy, Romania and Bulgaria abstained. Germany was also against it before the return. How can we imagine saving the planet if we don’t agree on the way forward, even within Europe?

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