Climate Change Awareness: Empirical Evidence for the European Union
32 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2020 Last revised: 20 Apr 2020
Date Written: February 14, 2020
In this paper we assess public attitudes on climate change in Europe over the last decade. Using aggregate figures from the Special Eurobarometer surveys on Climate Change, we find that climate change attitudes have evolved according to the "S-shaped" information dissemination model, conditional to various socioeconomic and climatological factors. In particular, we find that environmental awareness is directly related to per capita income, social trust, secondary education, the physical distress associated with hot weather and loss caused by extreme weather episodes. It is also inversely related to greenhouse gas emissions and tertiary education. Moreover, consistent with our epidemics-like narrative, we find a negative impact for Donald Trump's denial campaigns and a larger positive effect for Greta Thunberg's environmental activism. In terms of policy implications, this paper calls on the EU to take up leadership in the fight against climate change and declare a climate emergency. It also calls on teachers to introduce their students to climate change, science journals to allow wide access to any climate change article they publish and public institutions to protect climate change evidence from politicization. This paper finally calls for the close coordination of monetary and fiscal policies, to allow the green bonds market to reach rapidly the size required for the implementation of effective climate change mitigation policies.
Keywords: climate change, environmental attitude, green bonds, mitigation policy, EU
JEL Classification: Q50, Q54, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation