The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) recently published Latin American and Caribbean edition of their Climate Survey reveals climate change and environmental degradation to be among the top challenges for Latin American and Caribbean countries. While many survey respondents reported fear over climate change’s impact on their livelihoods, many also cited renewable energy development as a way to address both environmental concerns and promote economic growth.
The survey included responses from more than 10,500 participants in 13 countries in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Panama, to name a few, and 91% of respondents claimed they feel the effects of climate change in their daily lives, and 70% said climate change is negatively affecting their income or source of livelihood. More than a quarter of those surveyed agreed that government action to defend the environment and sustainable growth could improve these negative impacts and, further, would lead to economic prosperity for their country (72%).
The survey also indicated growing concern over the need for climate change-related migration. Over half of respondents (54%) admitted to thinking they would have to move to another region due to climate change. Younger respondents were even more confident that they would have to move, especially as climate change-caused extreme weather events proliferate and worsen in the area.
Survey Reveals Public Awareness of Economic Dependence on Environmental Health
EIB cites public awareness of human-caused factors involved in the climate crisis, like burning fossil fuels, as crucial in gaining support for emission-reducing policies. Such awareness was confirmed by the large majority of respondents who thought governments should prioritize investments in renewable energy over fossil fuels (80%). Even more are in favor of stricter government measures that would incentivize people to adopt climate-friendly behaviors (88%).
Transitioning to clean energy is seen as both a positive for the environment and a way to address the aforementioned economic concerns. While immediate economic gains are often prioritized over environmental matters, the survey reports a marked attitude change: 80% of respondents supported governmental focus on the environment rather than placing economic gains above all other costs.
“The EIB Climate Survey results from Latin America and the Caribbean highlight a strong public awareness that the green transition can be a driving force for economic growth,” said Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of climate at EIB. “At the EIB, we are steadfast in our commitment to assist the region in accelerating the green transition and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
Climate policies that would promote renewable energy development in the area would help shift the region away from its dependence on fossil fuels and could help avoid further emissions caused by continued deforestation.