Europeans convinced climate change is real

The majority of people in four major European countries are convinced that we are feeling the effects of climate change such as severe storms and floods, and hotter or dryer spells, according to a new study.

Over 4,000 people were surveyed in the UK, France, Germany and Norway about their opinions on climate change, climate policy and future energy options.

The results reveal an overwhelming belief – over 80 per cent in all four countries – that climate change is happening. A similar proportion think that climate change is at least partly caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels.

“It is encouraging to see that most people in this very large study recognise that climate change is happening, and that support for the need to tackle it remains high amongst the people we surveyed,” said professor Nick Pidgeon of Cardiff University, who collaborated on the study.

Majorities in all four countries are in favour of using public money to prepare now for the impacts of climate change. They also support providing financial assistance to help developing nations cope with extreme weather.

More than 70 per cent would like to see public money used to subsidise renewable energy sources, revealing that renewable energy is viewed very positively in all four countries.

But according to a Guardian article on the study, fracking had little support: just 20 per cent of people see it positively in the UK, 15 per cent in Germany and only 9 per cent in France. Nuclear power is also unpopular. Even in France, where nuclear energy supplies the vast majority of electricity, only 23 per cent have a favourable opinion of it.

In reference to Donald Trump’s opposition to climate action and repeated threats to pull out of the international climate accord signed in Paris in 2015, Pidgeon warned that “recently shifting political mood in some countries” is pushing climate policy towards a critical phase.

“It is therefore even more important that the public’s clear support shown in this survey for the Paris Agreement in 2015 is carried through by policymakers across Europe and worldwide.”


Image credit: Allan Harris, flickr/Creative Commons

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