Man holding a sign saying Save The Planet

Climate change still the most pressing problem despite COVID-19

Despite the Covid-19 health crisis, climate change is still seen as the biggest issue mankind faces, according to the findings of new research released by energy company Vattenfall.

The new survey – a follow-up report to one carried out in December 2019 – explored people’s attitudes and emotional responses to climate change.

The 2019 research found people believed climate change to be the most serious problem in the world; ahead of poverty, war and economic recession. The follow-up study – which was undertaken in June 2020 – was designed to show how the global Coronavirus pandemic might have influenced people’s views on climate change.

While there is an understandable increase in concern about epidemics and economic recession, almost a third (28 per cent) of people in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Finland continue to see climate change as the most pressing global issue in the world today. As many as 69 per cent of people describe themselves as “quite” or “a great deal” worried about climate change.

The results found most respondents (57 per cent) believe the highest priority should be given to continuing or increasing climate change commitments when it comes to ongoing financial recovery discussions across Europe.

Responses indicate that people expect a long-term and meaningful commitment by all actors who can affect climate change: governments, businesses and individuals alike.

For the report, Vattenfall consulted American psychologist Renee Lertzman:

“These results should provide comfort,” said Lertzman. “They show that our concern and duty of care for the world can be awakened during times of immense crisis – when we feel part of something much bigger. They also indicate that the durable and consistent anxieties and worries about climate change amidst such global health challenges can be a good thing. Ultimately they will drive us to action.”

“It is clear that our emotions towards climate change remain unchanged even in the wake of a global health crisis,” added Magnus Hallm, CEO, Vattenfall. “As a company that produces and supplies energy, our ability to make an impact is considerable and this report highlights that. We are fully committed, throughout our entire 20,000-person business, to make fossil free living possible within one generation and to help partners and industries to electrify transports and processes and thereby replace fossil fuels.”

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