Climate change – swapping planes for trains


The European Investment Bank has launched the second edition of the EIB climate survey. The findings are particularly relevant at a time when climate is one of the top priorities in the EU’s agenda, and following the EIB’s adoption of a new, fossil-fuel free energy lending policy and a new climate roadmap.

Conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, the survey aims to inform the broader debate on citizens’ attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action in the European Union, the United States and China.

I’m thrilled to see the level of commitment of European citizens in our common fight against climate change. Individual climate actions set the social and economic trends of our societies that will help tackle climate change”, Vice-President Emma Navarro

Discover below some of the key findings from the second of four releases of this worldwide EIB climate survey.


Adopting more environmentally friendly means of transportation

64% of Europeans appear ready to opt for public transport for environmental purposes over driving. In comparison, 93% of Chinese citizens and just 49% of Americans say they are already opting for this behaviour. Within the European Union, Eastern Europe stands out for its high use of public transport. Additionally, the survey finds that while only 3% of Europeans and 5% of Americans say they have replaced their car with an electric model, 26% of Chinese respondents state they have already done so.

When it comes to air transportation, 36% of Europeans say they already fly less for holidays to fight climate change, and 75% of Europeans intend to do so in 2020. This figure increases to 94% in China, but is only 69% in the United States of America. People in the European Union, especially Croatia, Slovakia and Germany are particularly committed to flying less and travelling more by train.

Home and consumption

New Year’s resolutions on home heating and climate-conscious consumption

91% of Chinese citizens say they intend to heat their home less to fight climate change compared to 78% of Europeans and 75% of Americans. Other differences appear when it comes to environmental actions at home: more than 94% of Chinese citizens intend to or have already switched to a green energy provider, compared to 70% of Europeans and 64% of Americans.

With regard to climate-conscious consumption and investment, respondents in Europe and in the US are less inclined to engage than their Chinese counterparts. 86% of the population in China say they intend to invest in green funds in 2020 compared to 56% in the US and 52% in Europe. Eastern European countries and the Baltic States in particular are the least inclined to boycott heavily polluting brands.

Overall, French respondents say they are willing to adjust their lifestyle to fight climate change, but to varying degrees. 90% of respondents appear ready to consume only local food products, while 94% are committed to buying fewer plastic bottles.

When it comes to choosing more environmentally friendly means of transport, the French lag behind other European countries. Only 58% of French people say they intend to use public transport for their daily commute to fight climate change, which is lower than the European average (64%). 27% of the French population (the highest score in Europe) report that they do not have access to public transport, with the highest rates in Normandy (39%), the Pays de la Loire (38%), Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (37%) and in the Grand-Est region (35%).


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