The first part of the 2021-2022 EIB Climate Survey explores people’s views on climate change in a rapidly changing world. The results from this release focus on citizens’ perceptions of climate change and the actions they expect their country to take to combat it. 

  • 80% of Hungarians think that climate change and its consequences are the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century
  • 80% believe that they are more concerned about the climate emergency than their government
  • 87% feel that climate change has an impact on their everyday lives
  • 49% think the country will fail in drastically reducing its carbon emissions by 2050, as pledged in the Paris Agreement
  • 67% are in favour of stricter government measures that impose changes on people’s behaviour (three points higher than last year)
  • 76% would welcome a tax on products and services that contribute most to global warming
  • 90% say they want to replace short-distance flights by fast, low-polluting trains in collaboration with neighbouring countries

80% of Hungarians think that climate change and its consequences are the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century. This figure differs slightly across different demographic categories: from 81% for 15-29 year-old respondents to 87% for respondents older than 65, and from 79% for low-income earners to 85% for high-income earners. There is a consensus among people with different political views: 86% of those with left-leaning political views say that climate change is the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century, compared to 80% of those with right-leaning political views.

The vast majority of Hungarians (87%) feel that climate change has an impact on their everyday lives (ten points above the European average of 77%).

These are some of the results from the first release of the 2021-2022 Climate Survey published on October  27 by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.

Perception of the climate crisis / The country’s fight against climate change

The vast majority of Hungarian people (87%) feel that climate change has an impact on their everyday lives and 80% believe that they are more concerned about the climate emergency than their government. As a consequence, they are fairly sceptical regarding their country’s capability to undergo an ambitious green transition. Only 51% think that Hungary will succeed in drastically reducing its carbon emissions by 2050, as pledged in the Paris Agreement. About half (49%) think that Hungary will fail to meet its reduced carbon emission targets.

As a consequence, two-thirds (67%) of Hungarians are in favour of stricter government measures — similar to the ones implemented to combat the COVID-19 crisis — that would impose changes on people’s behaviour (three points higher than last year, 64%).

Meanwhile, only 8% of Hungarians believe that global warming is not due to human activities.

The energy debate

When asked about the source of energy their country should rely on to fight global warming, the majority of Hungarian people favour renewable energies (76%, 13 points above the EU average of 63%) to address the climate emergency. Support for renewables in Hungary is seen strongly among people over 64 (78%). This figure drops eight points for people younger than 30 (70% in favour). Meanwhile, 70% of lower-income earners would support further development of renewable energies, compared to 79% of higher-income earners.

Hungarians overall are slightly less supportive of nuclear energy than other Europeans (7% vs. 12%). The gender gap is noticeable: men (11%) are much more in favour of nuclear energy than women (3%). People with higher incomes are also more in favour of the development of nuclear energy (10%) compared to those with lower incomes (4%).

Finally, Hungarians are slightly less likely to think that their country should rely on energy savings than other Europeans (12% vs. 17%). Saving energy is ranked far above an increased role for natural gas (3%). The gender gap in energy savings is also noticeable: women (16%) are much more inclined to support energy savings than men (8%).

Most popular solutions to fight climate change among Hungarians

The majority of Hungarian people (76%) would support — to a greater extent than Europeans in general (69%) — the introduction of a tax on products and services that contribute most to global warming. Even among respondents with lower incomes, 73% would be in favour of such a tax. Hungarians are also in favour of a 5-year minimum warranty on any electric or electronic product (94%) and replacing short-distance flights with fast, low-emission trains (90%). They also favour softer measures like strengthening education and increasing youth awareness of sustainable consumption (95%).

EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska said: “The EIB climate survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Hungarians support the introduction of new environmental measures, such as cleaner energy sources, to help them fight climate change and protect their country from its devastating effects. Hungary was one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement, and our survey shows that its citizens remain well aware of the danger, as well as the necessary solutions and action to be taken. The EIB is ready to help Hungary contribute as much as possible towards building a carbon-neutral, green and sustainable world economy — the key to limiting the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 °C or less. As the EU climate bank, we will focus on clean energy, energy savings, sustainable mobility solutions and innovation projects to make sure we succeed in this task. The strong support for global climate ambition in Hungary augurs well for the success of our global fight against further climate change, the biggest existential threat to humanity today.”

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Download the Excel spreadsheet with the raw data for all 30 countries surveyed here. Please click here to access the EIB website that presents key findings of the EIB Climate Survey IV.

About the EIB Climate Survey

The European Investment Bank has launched the fourth edition of the EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, the fourth edition of the EIB Climate Survey aims to inform the broader debate on attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. More than 30 000 respondents participated in the survey between 26 August and 22 September 2021, with a representative panel for each of the 30 countries polled.

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries and is one of the world’s largest multilateral lenders for climate action projects. The EIB Group has recently adopted its Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030 and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. As part of the Roadmap, all new EIB Group operations have also been aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement since the start of 2021.

About BVA

BVA is an opinion research and consulting firm recognised as one of the most innovative market research firms in its sector. Specialised in behavioural marketing, BVA combines data science and social science to make data inspiring and bring it to life. BVA is also a member of the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN), a global network of some of the world’s leading market research and survey players, with over 40 members.