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[greenyes] European Opinion on Enviornment
EU public's environmental attitudes polled
Environment Daily 1414, 27/03/03
The EU's first official survey of public opinion on environmental
issues for four years was published today by the European Commission.
EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström promised to take the
results into account in designing future policy initiatives. "This
survey shows that more needs to be done," she said.


* OPTIMISM AND PESSIMISM IN BALANCE. Asked to choose whether they
identify more with statements emphasising the potential for
irretrievable damage to the environment or the potential for tackling
such damage, respondents split virtually 50:50.

* CONCERN HAS GROWN SINCE 1999. In cases where a comparison is
possible, the survey shows a rise in public concern over major
environmental issues than in 1999. For example, 44% of respondents are
"very worried" about air pollution, compared with 35% in the previous
survey, and 42% about pollution of rivers and lakes, compared with 27%
in 1999.

* NUCLEAR POWER THE LEADING FEAR. Europe's public is more worried
about nuclear power and radioactive waste than any other issue (50%
"very worried"), followed by major industrial accidents, air pollution,
natural disasters and tap water pollution. Climate change comes only
11th at 39%, behind destruction of the ozone layer and just above the
use of chemicals. A smaller section of the public is concerned about
"use of GMOs" (30%) and fewer still worry about environmentally
friendly consumption (18%).

* SOUTHERNERS GROWING MORE WORRIED. Northern Europeans have been
displaced by southerners as the populations most concerned about the
state of the environment. Greece tops the poll of most worried people,
followed by Luxembourg and Italy. Least concerned of all are the
Netherlands, followed by Finland and Sweden.

* NORTHERNERS FEEL BEST INFORMED. Northern Europeans feel much better
informed about environmental issues than southerners. Finland, Denmark
and Luxembourg top the list, with Portugal, Spain and France bringing
up the rear.

* LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT HIGH. Asked whether they were making an effort
to take care of the environment, over three-quarters say yes. However,
respondents are split evenly between those who feel their actions make
a difference and those feeling it is beyond their control. People feel
most empowered in Finland, Sweden and Belgium, and least in Italy,
Greece and France.

* NGOS STILL MOST TRUSTED. As in previous surveys, environmental
groups are most trusted on environmental issues, with a 48% rating,
followed by "scientists" and consumer associations. Trust in the EU is
much lower, at 13%, but still slightly above national governments at
12%. Political parties get 10%, while companies are trusted by a mere


* STRICT REGULATION STILL FAVOURED. Continuing a settled preference of
Europe's public, respondents' favourite route to solving environmental
problems is a combination of strict regulations and heavy fines, backed
by 48%. Better enforcement of existing rules comes not far behind, with
40%. However, raising environmental awareness (45%) and taxing "those
who cause environmental problems" (36%) are also favoured.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell    (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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