According to a special Eurobarometer opinion poll on climate change1, four out of five people in the European Union recognise that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment.
The survey found that recognition of the economic benefits of climate action and energy efficiency is highest in the Member States which suffered most during the economic and financial crisis. However, in no Member State did fewer than 65% of respondents agree.
The survey also found that seven in ten citizens agree that reducing fossil fuel imports from outside the EU could bring economic benefits. In what should serve as a boost to the renewable energy sector, the survey also found that the vast majority of Europeans support national action on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard sees these results as an endorsement by the European public of the Commission’s renewable energy policies. “The poll confirms that a clear majority of Europeans expect their politicians to tackle the climate challenge now. The citizens understand that climate change did not go away while their governments were busy handling the economic crisis. It is not either growth and competitiveness or the climate. It is both, it has to be both. I hope that EU leaders will listen and act accordingly at the European Council later this month when they will discuss our 2030 climate and energy proposals,” she said.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso saw the poll results as a clear call to EU governments to take decisive climate action: “There is not a choice to make between good economics and climate protection: cost-effective climate action is indeed good economics. I am very encouraged that European citizens recognise that too. This poll sends a strong signal to EU leaders to take bold climate action for a sustainable economic recovery. And it is an encouragement also for us in the Commission to continue fighting for ambitious climate action in Europe,” Barroso said in the statement.