More than two-fifths of the global population would be willing to fly less even after COVID-19 restrictions ease, according to a survey that shows a growing belief that individual actions impact the climate.
The poll of more than 30,000 people published yesterday by the European Investment Bank shows 72 percent of Europeans and Americans and 84 percent of Chinese think their own behavior can make a difference in tackling climate change, up by between 7 and 12 percentage points since last year.
People now think giving up flying would be one of the easiest things they could do to cut their carbon footprint and respondents were far more reluctant to stop video streaming, buying new clothes or eating meat.
When COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted, 43 percent of Europeans, 40 percent of Americans and 65 percent of Chinese said they would try to avoid air travel, according to the survey, which was conducted in October last year.
Many of those cited climate change as the main reason.
Aviation is forecast to account for a rising share of carbon pollution in coming decades.
The industry spewed out more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to BloombergNEF and airlines have had limited success so far in cutting emissions.
“The post-COVID-19 period will provide an opportunity to take a quantum leap in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy,” EIB vice president Ambroise Fayolle said.
Yet the survey also found that people are far less willing to give up owning a vehicle, which could have a bigger climate impact.
Aviation still only accounts for 2.5 percent of global emissions, while road transport is responsible for about 15 percent.
Among a list of actions to fight climate change, 39 percent of Europeans and 38 percent of Americans said forgoing vehicle ownership would be the hardest for them.
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