Indicator Climate

Attitude toward climate change

The view that the impacts of climate change are a serious threat is a mandatory condition for people to support climate protection measures and adapt their own behaviour accordingly.

However, a positive attitude toward climate protection does not necessarily lead to appropriate behaviour. If different behaviour is considered more beneficial - less expensive, time-saving or more comfortable, this can take precedence over the "climate protection" aspect. Also, incorrect habits or social expectations can prevent appropriate behaviour.

Assessment of the state
good good
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
People who think that climate change is a "high" or "very high" threat 2015: 80 People who think that climate change is a "high" or "very high" threat 2011: 79 People who think that climate change is a "high" or "very high" threat 2007: 82 People who think that climate change is a "high" or "very high" threat 1994: 54
*In 1994 and 2007, a five-point scale was used instead of a four-point scale. The results are therefore not completely comparable.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: ETH Zurich; Swiss Federal Statistical Office
Traffic: 8.7% Other: 27.1% Nuclear energy: 6.8% Environmental pollution in general: 6.7% Energy production: 7.4% Energy consumption: 9% Don't know: 9.5% Climate change: 12.3% Air pollution: 12.5%
Percentage of answers to the question "Which environmental problem in Switzerland should be solved most urgently?" (2015)

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: gfs-zürich

In the last ten years, about 80% of respondents held the view that climate warming is a “high” or “very high” risk. In 1994, only 54% held this view.

36% of the answers to the question of which environmental problem in Switzerland should be solved most urgently mentioned issues in connection with climate change (energy consumption and production, transport and CO2 emissions).

People who are aware of the problem of climate change tend to be more open to climate protection measures. As they become more aware, they should also become more willing to think about their own behaviour and adapt it. For that reason, the state and changes in this indicator are rated positively.

International comparison

A Eurobarometer survey on the topic of climate change, which was conducted in 2013 in the 28 EU member countries, showed similar results as the Swiss environmental survey. In this case, 90% of the respondents actually believed that climate change is a “serious” or “very serious” problem. It was named the third most important problem worldwide, after poverty and the economic situation.


The results for 1994 and 2007 were taken from the Swiss environmental survey conducted by ETH Zurich; the “Perception of Environmental Quality and Environmental Behaviour” survey conducted in 2011 and 2015 by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO). All surveys were conducted by telephone and measure various aspects of environmental impacts, environmental awareness, environmentally-relevant behaviour and lifestyle habits. The samples (2015: N=3000) meet the criteria for representativeness. Participation is voluntary.

The indicator measures the percentage of respondents who rate the threat of the impacts caused by greenhouse gases as high or very high. Because a five-point scale was used in the environmental survey and a four-point scale was used in the SFSO survey, the results are not fully comparable.

Last updated on: 01.09.2016

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