EIB survey finds about 40% of Europeans say they would find flying less one of the easier ways to cut their CO2
The second release of the 2020-2021 European Investment Bank (EIB) climate survey focused on how people intended to fight climate change in 2021, what they were willing to give up to tackle the climate crisis, and how the COVID pandemic affected their travel habits.The data is now at least a year old, so things may have changed. The survey asked respondents how likely they were to do various things to cut their carbon emissions. These were giving up flying, giving up meat, giving up new clothes, giving up video streaming, and giving up having a car. Some 40% of Europeans [not including Brits after Brexit] said they would find it easiest to give up flying (it was 38% of Americans and 43% of Chinese respondents). The % varied between European countries. About 39% of Europeans and 38% of Americans say that giving up their car would be the most difficult option. The survey found that even when travel restrictions related to COVID are lifted, 37% of Chinese people, 22% of Europeans and 22% of Americans said they will avoid flying because of climate change concerns.
What are you ready to give up to fight climate change?
2020-2021 EIB Climate Survey, part 2 of 3
European Investment Bank (EIB)
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.
The survey finds that if given the choice to give up flying, meat1, new clothes2, video streaming services, or a car to fight climate change, 40% of Europeans would find it easiest to give up flying.
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%).
However, once travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are lifted, 37% of Chinese people, 22% of Europeans and 22% of Americans say they will avoid flying because of climate change concerns.
42% of European citizens say they would take their holidays in their own country or a nearby country to minimise carbon emissions.
29% of Europeans (compared to 29% of Chinese citizens and 35% of Americans) say they will resume travelling by plane as they did before the pandemic.
Can individual behaviours have an impact in fighting climate change?
Most respondents in China, the US and Europe say that they are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than about climate change.
But people still believe their choices and actions can contribute to the fight against climate change. 72% of European citizens believe that their own behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change. This conviction is shared by 72% of American and 84% of Chinese respondents.
Compared to 2019, the number of people answering positively to this question increased everywhere, with an increase of three points in the EU, seven points in the US and 12 points in China.
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.
40% of French respondents say it would be easiest to give up flying to tackle the climate crisis
French people would find it easier to give up flying than to stop eating meat, buying new clothes, owning a car or using video streaming services. 40% say that giving up flying would be the easiest, whereas 41% say that giving up their car would be the most difficult option.
However, it is unclear to what extent French people are really willing to do their part to avert a climate catastrophe. Overall, only 12% of French respondents say they are making radical lifestyle changes to fight climate change. This is seven points lower than the European average (19%). Parents of children under 18 (17%) and urban dwellers (17%) are particularly represented in this group.
Once travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are lifted, 32% say they will avoid flying because of climate change concerns and 42% say they would take their holidays in France or a nearby country to minimise carbon emissions. 24% of French people say they will resume travelling by plane as they did before the pandemic.
The third edition of the EIB Climate Survey reveals how people in the European Union, the United States and China feel about climate change.