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19-08-2016

Environment: 67% of Europeans want the EU to do more

Tree in lightbulb
Tree in lightbulb

The environment is something Europeans care deeply about:  67% of them would like to the EU to do more on environmental protection, according to a Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament.  Read on to find out more about what the EU is already doing and will be doing to protect your health, safeguard biodiversity and fight climate change.

The EU is able to act in most areas of environmental policy, such as air and water pollution, waste management and climate change.

Italian EPP member Giovanni La Via, chair of the environment committee, said: “We share the concerns of our citizens, as seen in the Eurobarometer and are, for this reason, very committed to work on new policies and proposals to fight climate change and safeguard the environment."

Referring to the agreement concluded at the COP21 summit in Paris last year, La Via said: "The European Union has had a crucial impact on this agreement and is now developing all the policies to effectively turn it into acts.”

Measures

The EU is working on different measures to tackle climate change. Some are already being carried out, while others are still being worked on.

The EU institutions are currently implementing the Paris agreement, including a reform of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme; a target to reduce the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030; and EU legislation promoting renewable energy.

Parliament and Council negotiators recently reached a deal on legislation to improve the quality of our air. These contain plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulates and sulphur dioxide.

In the wake of the Volkswagen scandal, Parliament set up an inquiry committee to investigate the scandals of falsified car emissions measurements.

MEPs also recently adopted new rules on energy efficiency labelling for household appliances to make it easier for consumers to select what they want.

Parliament is also keen to stimulate the move towards a circular economy, which is partly about making products last longer through re-cycling and re-use. In addition MEPs are working on legislation for a better waste management.

The use of plastic carrier bags in Europe will be drastically reduced under legislation approved by Parliament.

There is also Natura 2000, the world's largest coordinated network of protected areas. It covers more than 18% of the EU's land area and nearly 6% of its marine territory.

National angle

62% of Irish respondents expressed support for more EU action on environmental action, compared to 67% of respondents at EU level.

The top three priorities for more EU action for Irish people in this special survey were the fight against terrorism 79%; the fight against unemployment 78% and the fight against tax fraud 69%. (see the national factsheet below).

About the survey

The survey was conducted among 27,969 people from all over the EU between 9 April and 18 April. It was set up to be representative of the population as a whole.

Check out the interactive infographic to compare the survey results on different policy areas for the EU as a whole as well as for each individual member state.

Eurobarometer surveyNational Factsheet: IrelandTop story: Climate changeTop story: BiofuelsEnvironment CommitteeBriefing: Environmental Protection (July 2016)