A survey by YouGov of seven European countries revealed that a significant number of people are willing to take personal steps and back government policies to help combat the climate crisis but are less likely to support measures that would greatly impact their way of living. Large majorities in all countries surveyed expressed concern about the effects of climate change, with strong support for the view that all countries would be more effective at tackling climate change if they worked together with others.
However, respondents were less certain about what they were willing to do to help combat the crisis. Measures that required little to no change in lifestyle, such as government tree-planting programs and government bans on single-use plastics, were more popular than measures that could greatly impact people’s lives, such as the voluntary reduction of meat and dairy consumption or giving up driving in favour of walking, cycling, or public transport.
While government subsidies to make homes more energy efficient were popular, covering the costs personally was less so. Even more radical proposals, such as voluntarily eating no more meat and dairy and having fewer children than one would like, were supported by fewer respondents. The survey highlights the need for governments to develop policies that incentivize and enable more sustainable living without requiring major lifestyle changes.