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Europeans Want More Ambitious Climate Targets

| 2021-05-18 2 min read

Europeans Want More Ambitious Climate Targets

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Public opinion in the EU strongly supports more ambitious national climate targets, according to a poll conducted in 12 European countries. The online poll commissioned by Transport&Environment from leading institute YouGov reveals that 68% of respondents would support their country’s climate target to be increased.

The survey results come at a time when the European Commission is debating the continued existence of the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation, which sets binding national climate targets for each Member State and regulates 60% of EU emissions. T&E wants the European Commission to listen to citizens and stop casting doubt on the continued responsibility of national governments to jointly deliver on the EU’s 2030 climate target. Instead, the Commission should propose increased national targets as part of its June ‘Fit for 55’ package – the environmental NGO argues.

Respondents are more divided when it comes to a new EU-level pricing instrument that would make transport and heating fuels more expensive for consumers, such as the proposed extension of the EU’s carbon market to these fuels would do. While 41% of respondents support such an instrument, 59% oppose it.

There is much more support for new EU level norms and regulations than for pricing instruments. The survey concludes that the European Commission should make it clear that national binding climate targets are here to stay as one of the main pillars of the EU’s climate architecture. National governments can tailor policies to investment needs and socio-economic realities on the ground, allowing for a much more impactful and a much more just transition, they recommend.

Southern European countries, Italy (85%) and Spain (79%), show the strongest support for increased national emissions targets. In Eastern European countries where national climate targets have so far been very low, support for government action is very high, Romania (73%), Poland (68%) and Hungary (67%). Support is less outspoken in Northwestern European countries. Yet, even in the Netherlands (46%) and Denmark (49%), the only two countries with no outright majority in favour of increased national targets, 84% and 85% of respondents with an opinion support, at a minimum, maintaining current national climate targets.

Source: Transport&Environment