EIB climate survey shows similar attitudes towards climate action in the US, EU and China

  • A majority of US, EU and Chinese citizens consider themselves and international organisations as best placed to lead action against climate change
  • 35% of EU and US citizens support national spending for climate action in developing countries as well as in their own
  • 78% of Europeans describe themselves as concerned or alarmed about climate change, vs. 65% in China and 63% in the USA

Citizens in the EU, the US and China have similar attitudes when it comes to climate action. They agree that they themselves and international organisations should take the lead in combatting climate change. More than a third each of Americans and Europeans back their governments in supporting developing countries’ climate initiatives. These are results of the fifth part of the EIB climate survey, published on the margins of the IMF/WB spring meetings #EUatSpringMeetings in Washington D.C.. The survey has been developed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in partnership with the global public opinion company YouGov. It unveils how 25 000 citizens in the European Union, the United States and China feel towards climate change.   

Emma Navarro, EIB Vice-President Responsible for Climate and Environment Finance, commented on the EIB Climate Survey findings: “Europe’s strategic vision for a prosperous, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050 outlines how climate neutrality can be achieved with substantial investment. The EIB climate survey shows that individual citizens welcome the leading role of international institutions to fight climate change. Unlocking engagement of all partners and crowding-in private sector financing are essential to succeed in this fight. As the EU climate bank, the EIB is looking forward to strengthening its support to implement the Paris agreement with global partners.”

Stavros Lambrinidis, the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, said: “EU policy recognises that climate change and environmental degradation know no borders. National institutions alone cannot tackle this challenge. That is why climate action must stay firmly on the global radar screen. And it is why the EU and its Bank, alongside their international partners, are committed to lead by providing analysis, finance, and clear ambitious solutions, whether in the field of adaptation or cutting emissions that cause global warming.”

Here are some of the findings from the EIB climate survey.

Comparing the EU with the USA and China
When compared to the United States and China, Europeans have a much stronger understanding of the challenges of climate change. 78% of Europeans describe themselves as being concerned or alarmed about climate change, compared to 65% in China and 63% in the USA.

Following this pattern, the survey also revealed that there is only a very small proportion of skeptical Europeans (6% are not sure if climate change is happening and 1% deny it). This contrasts with the heterogeneous climate perception in the United States, where one-third of US respondents describe themselves as alarmed, whereas up to 14% expressed their skepticism towards climate change. 

Accountability for climate action – who should take the lead?
The survey results reveal that a majority of EU, US and Chinese respondents alike place citizens and international organisations, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, at the forefront of the fight against climate change. They are putting a smaller focus on the responsibilities of local and national governments as well as on companies and corporations.

Climate change is a global challenge – but where should the funds be invested?
35% of EU and US respondents support national spending for climate action in developing countries as well as in their own. While 22% of Chinese respondents agree, 31% of them believe that each country should be responsible for funding its own climate initiatives.

Discover the latest release of our EIB climate survey from 10 April 2019 about citizens’ opinions on companies’ efforts to fight climate change and check our previous releases of the survey results on the EIB website.

About the EIB climate survey
The European Investment Bank partnered with global public opinion and data company YouGov to conduct a thorough assessment of citizens’ sentiments towards climate change. The Survey aims to inform the broader debate on climate change and understand citizens’ attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. There will be six releases of the EIB Climate Survey’s data in 2018 and 2019, with each series of data corresponding to a specific theme and area of focus. 25 000 respondents participated in the Survey, with a representative panel for each country.

About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries. It is the world’s largest financier of climate-related investment with USD 100 billion committed for climate action in the five years up to 2020 in support of the Paris Agreement.

The EIB at the IMF-WBG Spring Meetings: https://www.eib.org/events/eib-at-2019-spring-meetings

About YouGov
YouGov is an international data and analytics group. Its core offering of opinion data is derived from its highly participative panel of six million people worldwide. YouGov combines this continuous stream of data with its deep research expertise and broad industry experience in a systematic research and marketing platform.