Climate protection knowledge
In general, knowledge is seen as an important, if not sufficient condition for environmentally-aware behaviour. A person who does not know anything about how climate change works and its impacts can hardly properly assess the risk, and if a person is unfamiliar with the range of available actions he or she can take, that person will probably also not behave accordingly even if he or she has properly assessed the risk.
In addition, the population’s climate knowledge is also an indicator of general interest in climate issues.
In 2014, when asked the question “What are the three most important measures for protecting the climate”, only 44% of respondents could name three measures, while 13% could or did not want to list any measures. It can be assumed that daily climate-friendly behaviour is not important to these respondents.
Emission reduction (18% of all answers), energy (18%) and mobility (16%) measures were most often named. Even though these answers refer somewhat to targets rather than specific measures (reduction of energy consumption or CO2 emissions), they are correct and suggest that these respondents have already considered the topic. However, a considerable percentage of the usual answers, i.e. 25%, were very general and referred instead to environmental protection in general (e.g. caring about nature, greater individual responsibility) or to other policy areas. It can be assumed that people who named one or more of these measures have little knowledge that they can use to take action or protect the climate.
These results show that part of the population has already thought about climate protection. Nevertheless, the fact that over half of all respondents were unable to name three measures and one-quarter of the answers were considered inadequate shows that actionable knowledge is limited. For that reason, the indicator is rated neutral.
A survey by the Swiss Federal Statistics Office (Environmental Omnibus 2011) reveals that 76% of the population feel “very well” or “fairly well” informed. This could suggest that individuals overestimate their knowledge of climate protection.
- Related indicators
- Attitude toward climate change
Since the survey has not been conducted in this form in any other country, the indicator is not internationally comparable.
The results are based on a Swiss telephone survey conducted by gfs-zürich. A sample of 1,009 selected respondents was surveyed according to the random quota method. The sample meets the criteria for representativeness.
The survey measures various aspects of environmental impacts as well as knowledge of and attitudes toward specific environmental topics.
The climate knowledge question was “What are the three most important measures for protecting the climate?”, and no multiple-choice answers were provided. The correct answers were reduction of transport, energy and emissions, as well as the most important concrete actions that reduce these items (“use public transport more”, “heat less”, “reduce meat consumption”, etc.). In addition to explicitly wrong answers, general answers that applied mostly to all areas of environmental protection or other political topics (e.g. “increase individual responsibility”, “care about nature”, “other countries need to do something”) were considered indicators of lacking knowledge.