One of the difficulties with governing on the scale of the E.U. is how to accurately assess public opinion. In light of these concerns, the E.U. has been remarkably proactive with pan-Europe opinion polls. In the next few posts I’ll try to give a digest of the recent results to see how public opinion in the E.U. may influence policy.

In this first E.U. post, I want to deal with some of the basics. Across the E.U. 50% of people say that climate change is “very much a concern” for them (Gallup 2008) and 62% think that climate change is the most serious issue facing the world as a whole (E.U. TNS 2008). This last figure is particularly significant when compared to the 24% that thought the most major issue facing the world was a “major global economic downturn in May this year.

Attitudes to E.U. policy also reveal interesting results as shown in the figure below.

Fig. 1 Data Eurobarometer 2008

Interestingly, although the chart above shows 58% of citizens feel the E.U. is not doing enough to tackle climate change, this figure is much lower than that of national governments, corporations and citizens themselves (64%, 76% and 67% respectively).

The data shows quite a degree of variability between member states (see fig. 2) . It appears that the greatest levels of concern occur in Mediterranean regions (Spain, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Portugal) and Slovenia, where as the lowest levels of concern are in the Baltic regions (Estonia, Lithuania, Poland) as well as Italy.

Fig.2 percentage respondants who list climate change as the most serious issue facing the world as a whole (EU TNS 2008)

In the next few posts I will analyse attitudes to different green policies and personal efforts to tackle climate change.

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