The Spanish are very concerned about climate change but do not want the measures to tackle it to affect them

Most Spaniards agree: climate change is an important issue. A relevant problem that must be addressed with high urgency. But, at the same time, the majority also rejects hindering the use of gasoline, diesel or the consumption of meat, three main vectors of greenhouse gas emissions, that is, the cause of climate change. These are the main conclusions of an opinion survey on the green transition carried out by Esade and the Carlos III University.

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“The fundamental consensus around the challenge of the green transition begins with the high importance given to the problem of climate change”, analyzes the work, which has been prepared based on 3,014 interviews. Respondents give it an 8.3 out of 10 points. “For many, it should also be a priority” and they consider it “one of the three most relevant problems”, the researchers abound. For 24%, Spain's involvement in tackling the climate crisis should be "full".

Of course, the latest data shows how the climate crisis continues to progress. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) measured a level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere never seen at the end of May. Greenhouse gas density reached 420 parts per million. Thus, the heat retained by that gaseous layer in 2021 was 49% more than in 1990. The oceans retained more solar radiation than ever.

"The fundamental consensus around the challenge of the green transition begins with the high importance given to the problem of climate change

The alteration of an overheated world is felt in Spain. Last year was another “very hot” and dry course, according to data from the Aemet. In this half of June, a very early and intense heat wave is being recorded that will mean that, since 2011, there has been an early thermal wave every two years.

There is more. Denialism has no support. “People who deny climate change have one of the lowest affectivities among the Spanish population”, according to the results of the survey: 27 points out of 100. And on the other hand “those who mobilize against the crisis have a very high degree of positive affectivity. There is good opinion about them.

Even if asked at an abstract level, quite a bit of consensus has been generated on the policies that should be adopted to deal with this problem. The focus has recently been centered on “transport, fuel and meat production, the debates of which have gained attention in Spain”. At this level there is "a relative majority of Spaniards in favor of more taxes on companies or individuals to fight climate change."

No to hindering fossil fuels, yes to subsidies

But, in light of the results, when the issue touches on concrete and individual issues, these tendencies vanish. Rather they reverse.

Taxing fossil fuels to discourage their use is the most opposed measure. The rejection of a higher tax on gasoline is 64% – only 16% support it. Ending the circulation of diesel vehicles has 55% rejection and 23% in favor. Raising the registration tax for larger vehicles, which pollute more, has 42% against and 32% in favor.

And that emissions from road transport, that is, based on gasoline and diesel vehicles account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in Spain. In fact, a recent calculation by the Sustainability Observatory states that, after the 2020 cut, in 2021 Spanish emissions grew again, precisely because of the transport sector.

Yes, it seems good to those surveyed that governments allocate public funds to subsidize electric vehicles. "Between 69% and 70% are in favor of supporting the acquisition of cars and buses of this type."

no hindrance to the meat

Similarly, if the issue of meat production is addressed, 68% reject raising VAT on consumption and 46% oppose banning non-organic meat –although, in contrast, there is more population in favor of preventing the macro farms than to maintain them–.

Emissions from livestock herds are 65% of all those from the Spanish primary sector. In fact, this group was the only one that grew and released more greenhouse gases in 2020, a course with a significant cut in emissions caused by the stoppage of the pandemic.

In a pattern similar to that observed in transport, the measures that arouse the greatest consensus are subsidies to producers of sustainable farms or subsidies for the purchase of sustainable meat. In short, transfer public money to producers and consumers to use.

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