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Europeans Over 30 Understand Climate Change Better Than Younger Generations: EIB Climate Survey

Europeans Over 30 Understand Climate Change Better Than Younger Generations: EIB Climate Survey

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  • Europeans over 30 show greater understanding of climate change than younger generations.
  • Awareness of climate solutions lags, especially in the U.S.
  • Significant knowledge gaps exist in the benefits of insulation and speed limits.

The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) sixth Climate Survey reveals that Europeans over the age of 30 have a significantly better understanding of climate change compared to their younger counterparts. This survey, involving over 30,000 respondents across 35 countries, including EU Member States, the UK, the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Canada, provides valuable insights into public knowledge of climate change.

Generational Gap in Climate Knowledge

Respondents over 30 in the European Union scored an average of 6.47 out of 10, while those under 30 scored 5.99 out of 10. This disparity is evident in several key areas:

  • Recycling Awareness: 74% of respondents over 30 recognize the importance of recycling, compared to 66% of younger respondents.
  • Insulation Benefits: 48% of over 30s understand how better insulation can combat climate change, versus only 30% of those under 30.
  • Speed Limits: 27% of older respondents grasp the climate benefits of reducing speed limits, compared to 20% of their younger counterparts.

Definitions and Causes of Climate Change

When it comes to defining climate change and identifying its causes, Europeans generally perform better than Americans:

  • Correct Definitions: 71% of Europeans correctly define climate change as a long-term shift in climate patterns, compared to 58% of Americans.
  • Human Activities: 74% of Europeans and 64% of Americans recognize human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, industry, and transport as primary drivers of climate change.
  • Top Emitters: 72% of Europeans identified the U.S., China, and India as the top greenhouse gas emitters, while only 58% of Americans did the same, with many Americans failing to recognize China’s significant contribution.

Consequences of Climate Change

European respondents also have a better understanding of the consequences of climate change:

  • World Hunger: 85% of Europeans associate climate change with worsening world hunger due to extreme weather affecting crops, compared to 68% of Americans.
  • Health Impacts: 82% of Europeans understand the negative impacts on human health, compared to 71% of Americans.
  • Sea Levels: 71% of Europeans recognize the impact of climate change on sea level rise, whereas 45% of Americans have misconceptions, with some even believing that sea levels are falling.
  • Global Migration: 69% of Europeans are aware that climate change fuels global migration due to forced displacement, compared to 52% of Americans.

Solutions to Climate Change

Both Europeans and Americans show lower awareness when it comes to solutions for climate change:

  • Recycling: 72% of Europeans and 63% of Americans know that recycling helps combat climate change.
  • Building Insulation: Only 44% of Europeans and 40% of Americans are aware of the positive impact of building insulation.
  • Speed Limits: Awareness of the benefits of reducing speed limits is limited, with only 26% of Europeans and 23% of Americans recognizing this solution.

EIB’s Role

The European Investment Bank plays a pivotal role in financing climate solutions and raising awareness of climate issues. As the financing arm of the European Union, the EIB invests in major global projects, including climate adaptation in Jordan, sustainable transport in India, small-scale solar energy in Brazil, green steel production in Sweden, and Europe’s largest solar gigafactory in Italy. These projects underscore the EIB’s commitment to sustainable development and lowering carbon emissions.

Related Article: EIT InnoEnergy Launches European Solar Academy to Skill 65,000 Workers in Climate Tech Over Two Years

The EIB also supports educational programs, such as the European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition at Sciences Po, Paris, to equip younger generations with the knowledge to address climate change. This educational work is an investment in the human capital essential for long-term environmental sustainability.

Nadia Calviño, President of the European Investment Bank, stated:Climate action is the defining challenge of our generation. As the financial arm of the European Union, the EIB Group is committed to financing effective projects that tackle climate change and to raising awareness about this pressing issue. We are working closely with public institutions, cities, the private sector, and civil society to support climate solutions and to ensure that the green transition is affordable and that it offers new opportunities.


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