The biggest climate change-related concern to people in the European Union, the United States, and China is an increase in natural disasters, followed by damage to the environment, rising temperatures, and the spread of diseases, according to the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) survey on climate change for 2021-2022.
Vladimir Đurđević, a professor at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Belgrade, says the most important thing is that the vast majority of people understand that extreme events are connected with climate change.
Only Chinese citizens see climate change as humanity’s biggest challenge in the 21st century
However, only citizens of China see climate change as the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century, while Europeans and Americans worry more about the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey found.
Respondents were able to choose among eight answers when asked which of the following climate change-related concerns worried them the most. Aside from the top four answers, there were also: increased conflicts and wars, loss of biodiversity, migration, and rising prices of food and beverages.
Two climate change concerns scored the same in the EU, the USA, and China: natural disasters and damage to the environment.
After natural disasters, damage to the environment, and rising temperatures, the biggest concerns in the EU are loss of biodiversity (25%), increased conflicts and wars (21%), rising prices of food and beverages (20%), and migration (15%).
Professor Đurđević: the most important thing is that the vast majority of people connect extreme events with climate change
The results of the EIB survey are not a surprise to Vladimir Đurđević, a professor at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Belgrade, who says that people in Serbia have similar attitudes.
According to him, the most important thing is that the vast majority of people accept the reality of climate change and connect it with extreme events, but also that they are aware something must be done to avoid further escalation of the problem.
The stance of people in the US has changed
Until just a few years ago, for example, that was not the case in the US, and the survey results are a step forward, especially for that country, Đurđević told Balkan Green Energy News.
He stressed it is somewhat disappointing that the survey results show that most citizens think the key is in individual actions. However, it is well known that governments are primarily responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by adopting appropriate policies and plans.
Đurđević highlighted a clear framework and national policy as something necessary to make the most of individual actions. However, the willingness of politicians to adopt needed national policies also depends on the interest of citizens in climate change.
Climate change is all about a time frame in which something should be done, and that time frame is getting shorter
It is like a chicken and egg situation, but it seems quite possible that if politicians are sufficiently aware and ready to initiate changes, everything will happen much faster.
When it comes to climate change, it is a matter of time frame in which something should be done, which is getting shorter. If the opportunity is missed, there will be no new ones, Đurđević said.
He is convinced the responsibility should be borne by those who run countries.