March 17, 2008
A new survey issued in the Eurobarometer investigates the attitudes of the Europeans to the environment. The survey is interesting and encouraging reading. The Europeans are distinctly prepared to rise to their responsibility towards environment and climate, and for a sustainable future. Not less than two thirds say that they consider that environmental protection to be prior to competitiveness in the industry. There is of course differences between the nations, but not as much as one could expect.
The conclusion drawn from this (and other) questions by the Eurobarometer is that the global nature of the environmental problems have permeated the Europeans. A fair conclusion since there is a consistency with the responses this time and a similar study made 4 years ago.
At the same time we see and here to a growing extent that our national politicians and the European Industry plays chauvinistic games. The old circle of blame where everyone points at somebody else till the circle is closed and all involved has found their scapegoat. So the big question is now: “Will our leaders rise to the expectations of their people and take the tough decisions?”
Know and do…..and do much more
Because the citizens need the support from their leaders, not only in words, but in actual deeds and in real leadership. The barometer has also asked people if their knowledge has translated into a “green” behaviour. The result is less encouraging. In this area there is also a much more distinct difference between the countries in terms of information and awareness.
This role might be much more important if we consider the environmental criticism that has been made to the Stern-report.
One such study says that Stern is too optimistic and that the growth in use of non-fossil energy resources and in development of e.g. CCS-technology is way beyond feasibility. According to this criticism e.g. nuclear would have to 12-fold its present capacity (350 GW worldwide) in a short period of time. Regardless the opinion on nuclear per se 12-folding a mature technology is a tough task as opposed to multi-folding a less mature one such as PV.Author : Hans Nilsson