05 Jun 2024

Strong support for climate action in Europe

Ahead of the 2024 European Elections, European voters are ready for climate action, with a clear majority calling for stronger government action

Ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections, support for climate action in the EU remains high: In all member states surveyed, people are willing to make a personal contribution to help fight climate change. They are in favor of climate-friendly social norms and demand corresponding measures from national governments. These are the results of a survey summarized in a White Paper published by the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.

“The survey results show that, albeit varying from country to country, Europeans are willing to contribute to climate protection, support social norms in favor of climate protection, and demand intensified government action,” says Peter Andre, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Economics at SAFE. The average proportion of people in European countries who would make an individual contribution and donate one percent of their income to climate protection is 64 percent, only slightly below the global average of 69 percent.

The survey also reveals an average perception gap of 25 percentage points across all European countries between the actual proportion of respondents who would give one percent of their income to help protect the climate and the perceived proportion of people in their country who are willing to do so. “This perception gap suggests that individuals greatly underestimate the actual willingness of their fellow citizens to contribute to climate protection,” explains Peter Andre.

Call to European governments

The results also show widespread support for climate-friendly social norms, with an EU average of 86 percent of respondents saying that others in their country should try to fight global warming. Finally, there is a strong and widespread call for governments in Europe to do more to protect the climate: Overall, 87 percent of respondents in the European sample call for increased government action, which is very close to the average of 89 percent in the global sample.

The results are based on the Global Climate Change Survey, designed by SAFE economist Peter Andre and researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Copenhagen. The survey is part of the Gallup World Poll 2021/2022 and was conducted in 125 countries with nearly 130,000 respondents, including 26 EU member states. For each country, a random sample of the resident population aged 15 and over was used to ensure representativeness. In Europe, all surveys were conducted by telephone using randomly selected telephone numbers. The global results of the study were published in February 2024 in the prestigious journal Nature Climate Change. In the context of the 2024 European elections, the SAFE White Paper analyzes the sample of European countries.

Download the SAFE White Paper No. 104 here

Scientific Contact

Dr. Peter Andre

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Finance