The EIB Climate Survey polled the climate change-related views of people in major global economies, with over 30,000 respondents in the EU, the US, China, India, Japan, the UK, UAE, Canada and South Korea.
Climate change impact and environmental degradation top the list of perceived challenges in India and China, and are a close second to the cost of living in the EU, the US and Japan. In the UK, the rising cost of living is considered the number one challenge (77 per cent of respondents place it in the top three concerns for their country, nine points above the EU average). Climate change impact and environmental degradation come second, with 45 per cent of respondents in the UK ranking them in the top three concerns.
Except for respondents in Japan, most believe that measures to combat climate change will improve people’s daily lives, including the quality of food and health (EU 61 per cent; US 66 per cent; China 69 per cent; India 65 per cent; and Japan 47 per cent). In the UK, 68 per cent of respondents believe that climate policies will improve the quality of their daily lives.
European and Japanese respondents are divided on whether the green transition will create or eliminate jobs (51 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively) while their American, Chinese and Indian counterparts are more optimistic (57 per cent, 70 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively) and believe net additional jobs will be created. In the UK, 58 per cent of respondents think that climate policies will create more jobs than they will eliminate.
Survey respondents also recognise that the financial costs of the green transition are likely to affect personal budgets and endorse policies that take social and economic inequalities into account. Most said that to succeed, the transition to a climate-neutral economy must also address inequalities (EU 68 per cent; UK 64 per cent; US 56 per cent; China 59 per cent; India 59 per cent; and Japan 62 per cent).
According to the survey, most respondents would be willing to pay higher income taxes to help lower-income households cope with the costs of the green transition (EU 59 per cent; UK 63 per cent; US 67 per cent; China 90 per cent; India 89 per cent; and Japan 58 per cent).
The survey also shows that the global demand for fairness extends beyond national borders. Recognising a historical responsibility, most respondents from the EU (60 per cent), the UK (58 per cent), the US (63 per cent), China (74 per cent) and Japan (72 per cent) agree that their countries should financially compensate developing countries to help them fight climate change.
Most respondents also said they would be in favour of other kinds of climate-related measures; 80 per cent of UK respondents said they would favour a fossil fuel tax reform (EU 74 per cent; US 78 per cent; China 94 per cent; India 92 per cent; and Japan 71 per cent) to eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for the aviation sector and other industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels.
In a statement, Laura Sabogal Reyes, senior policy advisor, E3G Public Banks Programme, said: “The insights of the 2023 EIB Climate Survey leave no doubt. The global green transition will not be successful without addressing economic and social inequalities head on. Public Development Banks must play a crucial role in ensuring that the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive future is equitable and just, leaving no one behind."