Climate change: Majority sees digitisation as part of the solution

Climate change: Majority sees digitisation as part of the solution

A representative survey across 13 EU member states shows that most people are willing to contribute to the fight against the climate crisis on an individual level.

Environmentally responsible behaviour is becoming increasingly important. (Photo: Onesave Day/Unsplash)

With regards to climate change, a majority in numerous EU countries sees digitisation rather as part of the solution than as part of the problem.

This reveals a new survey of the Vodafone Institute, the European think-tank of the Vodafone Group. More than half of the surveyed Europeans state that digital technology can play a big role to solve environmental problems. Only 14% sees digital technology as one of the reasons for climate change.

Furthermore, 65% of Europeans think each and everyone has to fight against climate change, while institutions such as national governments follow behind.

Most people (72%) agree more or less that the EU must comprise strict rules with respective costs for businesses and citizens. Nevertheless, the preferred way of EU climate change action is via technological innovations (approved by 81%). On the other hand, less than half of the surveyed EU citizens (42%) have so far heard of the “Green Deal for Europe”.

Digitisation as a chance

Inger Paus, Managing Director of the Vodafone Institute, said: “There is no longer any doubt that the issue of climate change has reached large sections of society. Most people are, in principle, willing to make a contribution on an individual level. Remarkable: Digital technologies are rather seen as part of the solution – not of the problem. Politics and business are called upon to take up this positive trend”.

The results are particularly important in the light of the EU Commission’s recent plans. The European Commission has now asserted that all national recovery and resilience plans must focus strongly on both reforms and investments supporting the green transition. In fact, a minimum of 37% of the €672.5 billion recovery and resilience facility is earmarked to climate. The EU Commission has also raised its climate ambition, proposing a 55% cut in emissions by 2030.

Asked if the EU should take on a pioneering role in fighting climate change, all in all, 53% agree that the EU should take the lead. But the answer depends very much on the nationality: The prevalent opinion in the Netherlands, Estonia and Poland is that instead global agreements must be reached. In contrast, in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Ireland, an active role of the EU is favoured.

More findings of the survey:

The majority of society sees digital technologies as an aid against climate change. (Photo: Bailey Kovac/Unsplash)

– The big majority (87%) consider environmentally responsible behaviour in their everyday life when it comes to purchasing decisions

– More specifically, 72% state that they are using their smartphone for a longer period and thus avoid buying a new smartphone too often.

– Furthermore, 69% avoid single-use plastics and 60% are buying locally products (e.g. food or clothes).

The results are part of the “Digitising Europe Pulse” series. The survey was conducted by Kantar. For this purpose, 13.000 people in 13 EU countries were interviewed via an online-survey. Previous parts examined people’s attitudes to the impact of COVID-19 and the EU’s digital agenda.

Digitising Europe Pulse: Tackling Climate Change (PDF)