Europeans more worried about climate change than economic crisis

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Climate skeptics are a dying breed in Europe, a new poll shows, with two out of three people seeing climate change as a very serious problem.

Indeed, the Eurobarometer poll found that Europeans were more concerned about climate change than the economic situation.

"It is striking that the public is even more concerned about climate change than it was in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate Conference. In particular, the fact that more than three out of four Europeans see improving energy efficiency as a way to create new jobs is a strong signal to Europe's decision makers," says Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for climate action.

"I see this poll very much as an encouragement also for us in the Commission to continue fighting for ambitious and concrete climate action in Europe."

Overall, 68 percent considered climate change a very serious problem, up from 64 percent in 2009. Eighty-none percent saw it as either 'very serious' or 'fairly serious'.

Indeed, climate change was seen as the second most serious problem facing the world, after poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water.

And there was big support for efforts to fight climate change oand improve energy efficiency, with 78 percent agreeing that this could boost the EU economy and jobs. More than two-thirds support shifting taxation to depend more on energy use.

It's a sharp contrast to the state of public opinion in the US. A poll carried out earlier this summer by Yale and George Mason universities found that only 64 percent of Americans even believed that the world was warming, and fewer than half believed that climate change was caused by human activities.