MADRID – Spain is the second European country to be most concerned about the effects of climate change, after Italy. This is according to a survey conducted to mark Earth Day 2022 (22 April).
The global average is estimated at 68%, in Spain it is 77%. Within Europe, only Italy scores higher with 79%. The survey also shows global citizens believe that government, businesses, and individuals have a shared responsibility to tackle climate change. However, there is a general lack of knowledge about what measures can be taken at an individual level to take care of the planet. Globally, only four in 10 people believe their government has a clear plan for joint action to tackle climate change. This has increased from 8% in 2021.
Are we letting the next generation down?
The annual survey was conducted in 31 countries between 18 February and 4 March. Furthermore, this year’s conclusion is that climate change is not the biggest concern of the population. However, it is one of the top ten concerns of citizens worldwide. 68% of world citizens are concerned about the consequences of climate change at a global level. 70% believe that if we do not act soon, we will be leaving future generations in the lurch. Moreover, in Spain, this percentage is slightly higher at 74%.
57% of global citizens are confident that significant progress will be made in the fight against climate change in their country over the next ten years. The lack of confidence that governments will implement the necessary plans to combat climate change affects citizens’ expectations for the future. In Spain, this feeling is shared by 52% of the population.
Polluters have the biggest obligation
On the other hand, 68% of the world’s population believes that companies and governments have a similar responsibility to take care of the planet. People also believe that the most polluting sectors have the greatest obligation to take action against climate change. This is especially,
- energy companies (82%)
- car manufacturers (80%)
- public transport companies
- (77%), airlines (77%)
- manufacturers of household goods (74%)
- technology companies (74%).
In contrast, sectors whose carbon emissions are not so obvious, such as financial services and online retail, are seen as less responsible.
The Spanish population considers the following as the most responsible sectors;
- energy companies (84%)
- airlines (82%)
- car manufacturers (81%)
- public transport companies (80%)
- technology companies (80%)
Growing sense of urgency and concern about climate change
People are also increasingly aware of the urgency of doing something about the climate crisis. Although this has not yet translated into their daily habits.
- 58% of people said they will avoid excess packaging
- 54% will not buy new products or will do so later
- 52% will save water at home
- 50% plan to recycle glass, paper, and plastic
What measures do Spaniards take?
Hispanics are more likely to take the following measures;
- avoid over-packaging (65%)
- save energy at home (59%)
- walk or use public transport instead of their own vehicle (58%)
- buy fewer new products (57%)
- save water at home (57%)
The intention to make changes with the greatest impact is still low. These include changing diet, choosing more vegan products, and avoiding air travel. Since 2021, a slow increase can be seen.
Lack of knowledge
Behind the results often lies a general lack of knowledge. The public believes the following actions are the most effective to protect the environment and combat climate change;
- recycling (49%)
- using renewable energy sources (30%)
- using public transport (22%)
Only 15% of citizens are prepared to give up their cars.
According to Director of Public Opinion and Political Studies at Ipsos in Spain, José Pablo Ferrándiz, in Spain ‘compared to other countries, climate change deniers are a minority’. The majority of citizens think that individual behaviour is part of the solution, Ferrándiz said.
No climate stylists
In other words, Spaniards are not climate stylists’, a term used by French philosopher Bruno Latour to describe those who believe that without doing anything, everything will eventually be resolved. ‘The problem is that we have not yet clearly established which behaviours really help to take care of our planet,’ he said.