Monday 25 October 2021

High earners and well educated worry most about climate (but still fly)

Solar panels on new housing in Amsterdam. Photo:

A CBS survey gauging opinion about climate change shows that 75% of people think the process is reversible but that when it comes to flying or sustainable energy, they do not always put their money where their mouth is.

‘Many people who are worried about the climate will change their behaviour and, for instance, eat less meat’, the CBS writes, ‘but these same people will not buy solar panels and are frequent flyers.’

The people who worry most about climate change are people living in cities, with higher incomes and a higher level of education, the CBS said.

Some 3,648 people over the age of 18 took part in the survey which looked at attitudes to climate change, the switch to renewable energy, sustainable housing and mobility, as well as meat consumption and a climate conscious life style.

Over 90% of the respondents acknowledged that the climate is changing and 60% believed this is down to human interference. Three-quarters said they think the process can be stopped but they are worried about the next generations.

The current drive to replace oil and gas as energy sources with renewables such as wind and solar energy is seen as ‘very positive’ by 53% of the respondents, with 71% saying they were in favour of building more wind turbines.

However,  most did not want them near their home and favoured building wind farms offshore.


Some 28% of home owners had installed solar panels in 2020 and 21% said they would be buying them in the next two years. Almost half said they were motivated by worries about the environment.

At the same time, half of the respondents said they had travelled by plane in 2019, the year preceding the survey. One in five said they have felt guilty about flying but half had no such qualms and two in three said the state of the climate would not influence their decision to fly.

Some 45% of the respondents eat meat four days a week. Some 20% eat meat every day while only 5% is vegetarian, motivated by animal welfare rather than climate. Almost two in three meat eaters are not considering giving up meat to reduce the carbon footprint of the meat industry.

Some 58% of the respondents said their own behaviour influenced the climate. Almost all (96%) said they always turned out the lights in empty rooms and 69% said they put on an extra jumper instead of turning up the heat. Half said they showered for less than five minutes.

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