Latvian public divided on climate change issues

There is no broad consensus in Latvian society about climate change, according to a new study.

An opinion poll conducted by the Solid Data research agency in cooperation with Later Labs for recycling company ClearR Grupa and retailer Lidl Latvija suggests that about half of the population of Latvia is worried about climate change, and half is not.

According to the survey, respondents are divided into four main groups: the Worried (27%) and Concerned (23%) believe that climate change is already harming people, while the Cautious (32%) and Doubtful (18%) are more skeptical about the impact of climate change, seeing threats only in the distant future. At the same time, less than 4% of all respondents believe that climate change is not happening at all.

The majority of respondents agree that everyone has an obligation to act to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and that everything possible should be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Latvia. Citizens more often expect more action from the EU, state or local governments, companies and society as a whole. Residents want state and municipal institutions to increase investments in greening cities and provide state grants for the installation of cleaner and more efficient heating systems. Respondents believe that greater support should be given to the increase of forest area and the development of organic agriculture.

Attitudes to climate change among Latvian public
Attitudes to climate change among Latvian public

The Worried, Concerned and Cautious groups express their belief that mitigating climate change should be a very high or high priority for the Latvian government, while the majority of the Doubtful population believes that the importance of this issue is low or medium. 

"I think we should all be much more active in addressing these topics, which will radically affect the entire planet and also the future of Latvia very soon, in order to help the citizens also realize their personal responsibility. The results of this survey once again reveal the worrying problem of awareness and understanding in Latvia. That's why we support initiatives that provide reliable data on public understanding and promote knowledge in it," said Antra Birzule, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Lidl Latvija.

There is no consensus in Latvian society about what causes climate change, according to the report. About half of the Worried, Concerned and Cautious believe that this is due to both human activity and natural changes. Among the Doubtful, the impact of human activity is given the lowest importance, and 21% believe that climate change is a natural process.

In the future, residents expect the biggest changes from waste processing. This is the only sector for which the majority of respondents in all groups indicate the need to change. There is also a prevailing view that fuel suppliers and dealers, as well as car manufacturers, should be held accountable. 

The study "Attitude and readiness to act to mitigate climate change: segmentation analysis of the population of Latvia" was conducted in August 2023, surveying 3,011 Latvian residents in the age group of 18-74 years. The full study results can be found here.

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