Five out of six Greeks (83%) believe that the climate crisis and its consequences constitute the greatest challenge for humanity, while the great majority also think climate change is having an impact on their everyday lives, according to the first survey on the climate by the European Investment Bank.
Crucially, the Greeks are more convinced (74%) than the European average (69%) that an environmental tax should be imposed on the products and services that contribute most to the overheating of the planet.
The EIB is the biggest funding authority for projects related to climate action in the world and this climate survey covers expectations for 2021-22.
The lender’s vice president, Christian Kettel Thomsen, noted that it is very positive that Greeks – in their vast majority – are in line with most other Europeans in considering that climate change and its effects are the greatest challenge of our time. “I believe that the recent wildfires may have contributed toward the vast majority of Greeks saying they feel the consequences on their everyday life,” he added.
Nevertheless, that superficial consensus conceals certain differences among the various groups in the population: There are varying levels of concern and expectations concerning climate issues between older and younger citizens, between men and women, and between various social and economic categories.
The survey further found that 76% of people believe they worry more about the climate emergency than the country’s government. Consequently they are relatively pessimistic about how likely it is that the country’s will actually move ahead with an ambitious “green transition.”
Only 38% of respondents expect Greece will drastically reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement commitments. Most Greeks (62%) say Greece will not meet the CO2 reduction targets it has set, with the generation gap being clear on this point: While 46% of people over 64 believe Greece will make its targets, only 30% of those aged under 30 believe so.
Therefore, three in five people (60%) are in favor of stricter measures by the state, similar to those taken against the pandemic, that will force people to change their behavior.