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Published March 3, 2014 08:17 AM

80% of Europeans want a low carbon economy to help tackle climate change

Four out of five people in the European Union recognize that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment, according to a special Eurobarometer opinion poll on climate change published today.

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Several countries which suffered most in the economic and financial crisis are among the countries where recognition of the economic benefits of climate action and energy efficiency is highest. In no Member State did fewer than 65% of respondents agree.

The survey also found that seven in ten citizens agree that reducing fossil fuel imports from outside the EU could bring economic benefits and 90% of respondents said it was important for Governments to commit to national 2030 targets for the expansion of renewable energy.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: "There is not a choice to make between good economics and climate protection: cost-effective climate action is indeed good economics. I am very encouraged that European citizens recognize that too.

“This poll sends a strong signal to EU leaders to take bold climate action for a sustainable economic recovery. And it is an encouragement also for us in the Commission to continue fighting for ambitious climate action in Europe."

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, added: ''The poll confirms that a clear majority of Europeans expect their politicians to tackle the climate challenge now.

“The citizens understand that climate change did not go away while their governments were busy handling the economic crisis. It is not either growth and competitiveness or the climate. It is both, it has to be both.

“I hope that EU leaders will listen and act accordingly at the European Council later this month when they will discuss our 2030 climate and energy proposals''

Key results of the survey are as follows:

* 80% of respondents agree that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and jobs, with 31% agreeing totally and 49% tending to agree. People were most likely to agree totally in Spain (52%), Sweden (50%), Malta (44%), Ireland and Cyprus (43%) and Greece (42%). The lowest share of respondents either agreeing totally or tending to agree was 65% in Estonia.

* Nine in ten Europeans consider climate change a serious problem. A large majority - 69% - believe it a 'very serious' problem and 21% a 'fairly serious' problem. Only 9% do not consider it a serious problem. 

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