European Perceptions of Climate Change

Findings from an international research consortium about perceptions of climate change across four European countries (France, Germany, Norway and the UK). Over 80% believe in climate change is happening.

The author(s)

  • Tim Silman Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Alexandra Palmqvist Aslaksen Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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A recent Ipsos MORI survey for an international research consortium led by Cardiff University explored public perceptions of climate change in four European countries – France, Germany, Norway and the UK. The survey repeated questions about broad belief in and concern around climate change, adding additional trend data to previous UK climate change surveys, and new international comparator data. It also explored views of various domestic and international climate policies, including energy sources, and the individual and national socio-political values that may underlie perceptions of climate change.

The survey found that over 80% in all four countries believe climate change is happening, and 60% believe that we are already feeling the effects of climate change. Just 24% to 35% believe there is strong scientific consensus on climate change.

There is broad support in all four countries for being part of the Paris international climate change agreement, and for using public money to help both their own and developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change, and to subsidise renewable energy sources. Most do not agree that climate change is one of the causes of the high number of refugees coming to Europe. That said, 30% (in the UK), 37% (in France), 39% (in Germany) and 57% (in Norway) think that climate change will lead to more migration to their country in the future.

The study was co-ordinated by Cardiff University in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart in Germany, Institut Symlog in France, the University of Bergen and the Rokkan Centre in Norway, and Climate Outreach in the UK.

Technical Details

  • The study comprised four identical nationally representative surveys of people aged 15+ conducted in the UK (n=1,033 interviews), Germany (1,001) and France (1,010) and by telephone in Norway (1,004)
  • To ensure a consistent understanding and interpretation of the questionnaire across the four countries, a robust translation process was used – the master English questionnaire was independently translated by native speakers from both Ipsos MORI and the research consortium. These were then compared and differences reviewed and discussed to inform the final translations
  • The surveys in France, Germany and the UK were carried out face-to-face in the respondent’s home using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) as part of an omnibus survey
  • These are regular face-to-face surveys carried out by Ipsos’ national offices. Each week multiple clients purchase time for questions on the omnibus. The sampling for an omnibus is thus not created bespoke for each survey, but is consistent in each country from week to week
  • In Norway, due to the highly dispersed population, face-to-face research is uncommon, therefore the Norwegian survey was carried out by telephone, using a sample from an official telephone register as a sample frame. This register includes all available private numbers, with 30% of the sample being landline and 70% being mobile. The survey was administered from the Ipsos Norway telephone centre using CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing)
  • Quotas were set on age, gender and region in all countries, with additional quotas on occupation and rurality in France, town size in Germany, and working status and tenure in the UK. This ensured the final achieved samples were nationally representative in each country. The data were then weighted after fieldwork to the known population profiles

The author(s)

  • Tim Silman Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Alexandra Palmqvist Aslaksen Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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