EU citizens support climate target raise

Sustainable energy

Public opinion in the EU strongly supports more ambitious national climate targets, according to a new YouGov poll conducted in 12 European countries.

The poll for Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals that 68% of respondents who expressed an opinion want their country’s climate targets to be increased, while 84% support increased climate efforts in the transport and buildings sectors to be delivered through new standards and regulations.

Government efforts should increase

The YouGov poll shows that out of those with an opinion, 68% think that their national government should increase its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now that EU leaders have agreed an EU-wide climate target of at least -55% emissions reduction by 2030. Another 24% think that their national target should be maintained at its current level, while only 8% think that their government should do less than today.

Support across Europe

Southern European countries, Italy (85%) and Spain (79%), show the strongest support for increased national emissions targets. In Eastern European countries where national climate targets have so far been very low, support for government action is very high, Romania (73%), Poland (68%) and Hungary (67%). Support is less outspoken in Northwestern European countries. Yet, even in the Netherlands (46%) and Denmark (49%), the only two countries with no outright majority in favour of increased national targets, 84% and 85% of respondents with an opinion support, at a minimum, maintaining current national climate targets.

There is also overwhelming support among EU citizens (84% of respondents who had an opinion) to implement new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as road transport zoning and minimum sales of electric vehicles, at a combined national and EU-level. Respondents are more reserved when it comes to a new EU-level pricing instrument that would make transport and heating fuels more expensive for consumers, such as the proposed extension of the EU’s carbon market to these fuels would do. While 41% of respondents who had an opinion support such an instrument, 59% oppose it.

Effort Sharing Regulation

The EU is currently debating the continued existence of the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation, which sets binding national climate targets for each member state and regulates 60% of EU emissions.

The European Commission should build on the overwhelming public support for new climate measures to prioritize increased ambition in high-impact EU measures such as CO2 standards for cars and vans. Ambitious policies at EU-level also help member states to more easily reach their targets.