A Eurobarometer survey shows that 78% of EU citizens and 81% of Irish people considered climate change to be a very serious problem – for 31% of Irish people, it is the single most serious problem facing the world.

The survey also showed that 72% of Irish respondents have taken action to fight climate change over the past 6 months, up 10 points on a 2019 survey and well above the EU average of 64%.

Climate neutral by 2050

In fact, Irish people at 89% were the most likely to say they tried to reduce their waste and regularly separated it for recycling. A huge majority (94%) of Irish people surveyed also agreed that the EU economy should be climate neutral by 2050. 

Executive vice-president for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “Despite the pandemic and the economic hardship Europeans are facing, support for climate action remains high. Europeans recognise the long-term risks posed by the climate and biodiversity crises, and expect industry, governments and the European Union to take action.

"The numbers in this Eurobarometer survey serve as a rallying call for politicians and businesses. For the European Commission they provide added motivation to finalise the ‘Fit for 55' legislation that we'll present later this month to make sure we reach our climate targets.”

A majority (64%) of EU citizens are already taking individual climate action and consciously making sustainable choices in their daily lives. When asked who is responsible for tackling climate change, citizens underlined the need for structural reform to accompany individual action, pointing to national governments (63%), business and industry (58%) and the EU (57%).

More than eight in 10 Europeans surveyed (81%) agree that clean energies should receive more public financial support, even if this leads to a reduction in subsidies for fossil fuels.

Target new green economy

Three-quarters of Europeans (75%) believe that investment in the economic recovery should mainly target the new green economy. There is clear acknowledgement that fighting climate change brings opportunities for EU citizens and for the European economy.

Almost eight out of ten Europeans (78%) agree that taking action on climate will lead to innovation that will make European companies more competitive.

Almost eight in 10 (78%) agree that promoting EU expertise in clean technologies to countries outside the EU can help create new jobs in the EU. Seven in ten Europeans (70%) believe that reducing fossil fuel imports can benefit the EU economically.

More than seven in ten Europeans (74%) agree that the cost of damages due to climate change are much higher than the investments needed for a green transition.