Most Europeans may curb flying, eat less meat for climate, EIB EU poll says
The poll in October of more than 30,000 people published by the European Investment Bank shows 72% of Europeans and Americans and 84% of Chinese people think their own behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change, up by between 7-12% since last year. They think almost a third of the global population would be willing to fly less, due to climate fears. People now think giving up flying would be one of the easiest things they could do to cut their carbon footprint and respondents were far more reluctant to stop driving a car, video streaming, buying new clothes or eating meat. When Covid-19-related restrictions are lifted, 43% of Europeans, 40% of Americans and 65% of Chinese people said they will try to avoid air travel, according to the survey. Many of those cited climate change as the main reason. The EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “The post-Covid-19 period will provide an opportunity to take a quantum leap in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.” People age d 15-30 were more likely to believe their behaviour can make a difference, than those older. On just CO2 emissions (ignoring the impact of non-CO2) aviation is around 2.5- 3% globally, and road transport 15%.
Most Europeans plan to curb flying, eat less meat for climate, EU poll says
By Kate Abnett (Reuters)
11th January 2021
BRUSSELS – A majority of European citizens intend to fly less and already eat less meat to help fight climate change, according to a survey published by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Monday.
Of 27,700 survey respondents in the EU’s 27 countries, 74% of respondents said they intended to fly less frequently for environmental reasons, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. That included 43% of respondents who said they would do this “all the time” and 31% who said they would “from time to time”.
Europe’s aviation sector is under scrutiny from customers and regulators over its carbon footprint, at the same time that airlines battle a slump in demand due to the pandemic.
Asked if they planned to choose trains over planes for short-haul trips, 71% of respondents in the EIB survey said they do.
In the poll, conducted in October-November 2020, 66% of Europeans said they already eat less meat to fight climate change and a further 13% said they planned to do so soon.
COVID-19 lockdowns meant global CO2 emissions dropped in 2020 compared with recent years, but it still ranked as the joint-hottest on record – underscoring the need for faster action to slash emissions to avoid locking in catastrophic future warming.
The EU is drafting a major package of new policies to curb pollution, including measures such as renovating buildings to use less energy, forcing carmakers to meet tougher emissions standards and levying higher carbon costs on factories.
Brussels also aims to help consumers make sustainable choices. The EU aims to have 3 million public electric car charging points by 2030. A ban on single-use plastic straws and cutlery takes effect this year.
“Citizens feel the impacts of climate change and they want the climate crisis to be addressed with unprecedented action,” EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle said.
The EIB, the EU’s lending arm, could help people adopt environmentally-friendly habits by financing clean energy and low-carbon transport, Fayolle said.
Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Marine Strauss and Edmund Blair
Globe-Trotters Pledge to Fly Less to Help Climate
By Jess Shankleman (Bloomberg Green)
11 January 2021
Almost a third of the global population would be willing to fly less even after pandemic restrictions ease, according to a survey that shows a growing belief that individual actions impact the climate.
The poll of more than 30,000 people published Monday by the European Investment Bank shows 72% of Europeans and Americans and 84% of Chinese people think their own behavior can make a difference in tackling climate change, up by between 7 and 12 percentage points since last year.
People now think giving up flying would be one of the easiest things they could do to cut their carbon footprint and respondents were far more reluctant to stop video streaming, buying new clothes or eating meat.
When Covid-19-related restrictions are lifted, 43% of Europeans, 40% of Americans and 65% of Chinese people said they will try to avoid air travel, according to the survey, which was conducted in October. Many of those cited climate change as the main reason.
Even though passenger numbers plummeted last year due to the pandemic, aviation is forecast to account for a rising share of carbon pollution in coming decades. The industry spewed out more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to BloombergNEF and airlines have had limited success so far in cutting emissions.
“The post-Covid-19 period will provide an opportunity to take a quantum leap in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle.
Yet the survey also found that people are far less willing to give up owning a car, which could have a bigger climate impact. Aviation still only accounts for 2.5% of global emissions, while road transport is responsible for about 15%.
Among a list of actions to fight climate change, 39% of Europeans and 38% of Americans said forgoing car ownership would be the hardest for them to get used to. That underscores the need for automakers to switch to electric vehicles and hydrogen in order to cut their environmental impact.
Unsurprisingly, a high proportion of people around the globe said they are less likely to use public transport in order to avoid catching Covid-19. Travel alternatives have soared, with 89% of Chinese respondents, 73% of Europeans and 69% of Americans saying they are cycling and walking more.
— With assistance by Ewa Krukowska
What are you ready to give up to fight climate change?
2020-2021 EIB Climate Survey, part 2 of 3
The second release of the 2020-2021 EIB climate survey focuses on how people intend to fight climate change in 2021, what they are willing to give up to tackle the climate crisis, and how the COVID-19 pandemic affects their travel habits and intentions to fight climate change.
Individual choices and actions can make a difference
The second part of the survey, conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, finds that although most respondents are more worried about COVID-19 than climate change, they still believe their choices and actions can contribute to the fight against climate change: 72% of Europeans and Americans, and 84% of Chinese people believe that their own behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change.
“The post COVID-19 period will provide an opportunity to take a quantum leap in the fight against climate change. A green recovery could help us accelerate the significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions that is needed by 2030. Citizens around the world are conscious that their individual behaviour can make a difference. As the EU climate bank, our role at the EIB is to accelerate this green transition through the financing of clean energy, sustainable mobility solutions and innovations that will enable citizens to change their habits in order to fight climate change.”
Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle
Flights, meat and video streaming: what people are ready to give up
Regardless of where respondents live, people say that it would be easiest to give up flying to fight climate change (40% for Europeans, 38% Americans and 43% for Chinese respondents). This figure is even higher in Poland (46%), the Czech Republic (48%), Hungary (48%), Slovakia (48%) and Croatia (51%).
18% of Europeans say giving up video streaming would be the easiest option, 16% say that giving up meat would be the easiest, 15% say that giving up new clothes would be the easiest option while 11% say that giving up their car would be the easiest choice to make to fight climate change. In Europe, women (20%) are more likely to say that giving up meat would be the easiest option, compared to men (10%).
However, when presented with the opposite question, 39% of Europeans and 38% of Americans say that giving up their car would be the most difficult option. People living in rural areas (51%) say that giving up their car would be the hardest choice, along with people in Italy (46%), Slovenia (46%), Malta (49%) and Luxembourg (52%).
Pandemic and climate concerns affecting future travel plans
Health concerns are also transversal: when asked about COVID-19 and public transport, 75% of Americans, 71% of Chinese people and 67% of Europeans say they are less likely to use public transport because they are worried about their health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure is particularly high in Italy (77%), Romania (78%), Portugal (80%) and Malta (83%).
Younger respondents are considerably more likely to believe their behaviour can make a difference in fighting climate change compared to older respondents in Europe and in the US, a gap that is not observed in China. The survey shows that in the EU, 77% of 15-29 year-olds believe their behaviour can make a difference compared to 64% of respondents aged 65 years or older. In the US, these figures are 75% and 56% respectively.
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