58% of Bulgarians in favour of stricter government measures imposing behavioural changes to address the climate emergency

(Source: European Investment Bank)

The first part of the 2021-2022 EIB Climate Survey explores people’s views on climate change in a rapidly changing world. The results from this release focus on citizens’ perceptions of climate change and the actions they expect their country to take to combat it. 

  • 77% of Bulgarians think that climate change and its consequences are the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century
  • 83% believe that they are more concerned about the climate emergency than their government
  • 78% feel that climate change has an impact on their everyday lives
  • 64% think the country will fail in drastically reducing its carbon emissions by 2050, as pledged in the Paris Agreement
  • 58% are in favour of stricter government measures that impose changes on people’s behaviour
  • 72% would welcome a tax on products and services that contribute most to global warming
  • 89% say they want to replace short-distance flights by fast, low-polluting trains in collaboration with neighbouring countries

77% of Bulgarian people think that climate change and its consequences are the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century. There is a limited gap among people with different political views: 72% of those with left-leaning political views say that climate change is the biggest challenge for humanity in the 21st century, compared to 83% of those with right-leaning political views.

These are some of the results from the first release of the 2021-2022 Climate Survey published today by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.

Perception of the climate crisis: The country’s fight against climate change

The vast majority of Bulgarian people (78%) feel that climate change has an impact on their everyday lives. While this is particularly marked among people older than 64 (82%), this figure decreases 10 points for 15-29-year-olds (72%), while 79% of 30-64-year-old respondents agree with this statement. The level of income has a limited influence on this perception (75% for high-income earners and 80% for low-income earners).

83% believe that they are more concerned about the climate emergency than their government. As a consequence, they are very sceptical regarding their country’s capability to undergo an ambitious green transition. Only 36% think that Bulgaria will succeed in drastically reducing its carbon emissions by 2050, as pledged in the Paris Agreement. The vast majority (64%) think that Bulgaria will fail to meet its reduced carbon emission targets. 71% of people with left-leaning political views share this pessimism, which is 13 points higher than the figure for people with right-leaning political views (59%).

As a consequence, a majority (58%) of Bulgarian people are in favour of stricter government measures — similar to the ones implemented to combat the COVID-19 crisis — that would impose changes on people’s behaviour.

Meanwhile, only 11% of Bulgarian people still believe that global warming is not due to human activities.

The energy debate

When asked about the source of energy their country should rely on to fight global warming, nearly half of Bulgarian people favour renewable energies (48%, 15 points lower than the EU average of 63%) to address the climate emergency. Support for renewables in Bulgaria is seen much more strongly among people younger than 30 (58% in favour). This figure drops 29 points for people over 64 (29%).

Bulgarian people overall are much more supportive of nuclear energy than other Europeans (24% vs. 12%). In Bulgaria, people older than 64 (39%) are far more in favour of nuclear energy than people younger than 30 (8%). The gender gap is also evident: men (35%) are much more in favour of nuclear energy than women (15%). People with right-leaning political views in Bulgaria are much less in favour of the development of nuclear energy (21%) compared to those with left-leaning political views (35%). People with higher incomes are also more in favour of the development of nuclear energy (32%) compared to those with lower incomes (20%).

Finally, Bulgarian people are slightly less likely to think that their country should rely on energy savings than other Europeans (15% vs. 17%). Saving energy is ranked above an increased role for natural gas (11%). The gender gap in energy savings is also noticeable: women (19%) are much more inclined to support energy savings than men (10%).

Most popular solutions to fight climate change among Bulgarian people

The majority of Bulgarian people (72%) would support — close to other Europeans (69%) — the introduction of a tax on products and services that contribute most to global warming. Even among respondents with lower incomes, 70% would be in favour of such a tax in Bulgaria. Bulgarians are also in favour of a 5-year minimum warranty on any electric or electronic product (92%) and replacing short-distance flights with fast, low-emission trains (89%). They also favour softer measures like strengthening education and increasing youth awareness of sustainable consumption (97%).

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said: “It is clear that a strong majority of people in Bulgaria want stricter measures and tools, such as cleaner energy sources, to help them fight climate change. In the course of COP26, this strengthens our determination to increase our efforts and accelerate an ecological transition which is just and leaves no one behind. As the European climate bank, the role of the EIB is to finance projects focusing on clean energy, energy savings, sustainable mobility solutions and innovations that help limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 °C or less.” 

Download the Excel spreadsheet with the raw data for all 30 countries surveyed here. Please click here to access the EIB website that presents key findings of the EIB Climate Survey IV.

About the EIB Climate Survey

The European Investment Bank has launched the fourth edition of the EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, the fourth edition of the EIB Climate Survey aims to inform the broader debate on attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. More than 30 000 respondents participated in the survey between 26 August and 22 September 2021, with a representative panel for each of the 30 countries polled.

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries and is one of the world’s largest multilateral lenders for climate action projects. The EIB Group has recently adopted its Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030 and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. As part of the Roadmap, all new EIB Group operations have also been aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement since the start of 2021.

About BVA

BVA is an opinion research and consulting firm recognised as one of the most innovative market research firms in its sector. Specialised in behavioural marketing, BVA combines data science and social science to make data inspiring and bring it to life. BVA is also a member of the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN), a global network of some of the world’s leading market research and survey players, with over 40 members.

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