68% of the population in Spain considers that the fight against climate change should be a priority for action

The Just Transition Observatory has just presented its second state report on the perception of the ecological transition in Spain. The project, promoted by Fundación Cepsa and Red2Red, is a space for reflection and shared knowledge created to manage the change to sustainable energies, prevent potential conflicts and generate joint conclusions and recommendations for decision-making.

The report reflects that 68% of the citizens consulted consider that the fight against climate change should be a priority for action, while only 4% indicate that it is not important. These data represent an increase in the perception of the Spanish population regarding the importance of acting against climate change, having increased by more than three percentage points since last year (64.9%). And, in between, 27% of the population considers this fight important, although they give more priority to other issues at this time.

Depending on age, the prioritization of action in the fight against climate change is clearly greater among younger people. Thus, the proportion of young people under 30 years of age who support the fight against climate change amounts to 78%. On the other hand, the population is more inclined to support policies to promote certain less polluting sectors through subsidies, than to support punitive measures through restrictions or prohibitions. This way, The actions related to environmental taxes and the establishment of low-emission areas are those that offer the greatest resistance (35% and 22% would not agree). For their part, awareness-raising measures are also among those that receive the greatest support.

The majority of the population considers that, in general terms, the ecological transition is, in the short term, an opportunity for our society (56%) and only 19% consider it a threat; a perception that improves in the long term (67% compared to 18%). This perception is supported above all by the assessment of the positive impact that the ecological transition can have on health and the environment. In this way, around 60% believe that it can reduce air and water pollution, improve health and generate cleaner environments.

However, there is notable concern about the impact it may have on the cost of living. 51% consider that the changes in consumption patterns implied by the ecological transition can have an impact on their economic capacity.

The data reveal a general decline between 2022 and 2023 of 3 to 11 pp. among the population in the willingness to adopt socially responsible behavior with the environment in daily life. This decline is especially observed in those changes that may imply an additional economic cost, such as the willingness to pay more taxes, assume the additional cost of purchasing a hybrid or electric car or the purchase of ecological products.

Finally, in the analysis of the typology of citizens in the face of the ecological transition, it is observed that in the last year the profile of the so-called “immobile” people has grown among the population, which represents, currently 16% of the population, this being the profile most resistant to the transformations that imply the ecological transition process. Anabel Suso, coordinator of the report and director of Public Policy Innovation at Red2Red, has indicated that “The survey data reveal some worrying trends, such as a certain lack of responsibility of citizens in the adoption of environmentally responsible behaviors, which is accompanied by a tendency to delegate responsibility for action to other actors, fundamentally the administration and companies. In this sense, it is very important to address the economic costs associated with the transition process, since as the population points out, they seem to be a detracting factor in the adoption of certain behaviors or in the support for certain action policies. For her part, Teresa Mañueco, director of Fundación Cepsa, has advocated the importance of this type of reports. “It is essential to understand what the attitude of citizens is regarding such crucial issues as the ecological transition,” he assured.