The Slovenia Times

Slovenians now see climate change as No. 1 challenge

Environment & Nature
Floods in Slovenia. Photo: An┼że Malovrh/STA

Slovenians now see climate change impacts and environmental degradation as the number one challenge for the nation, followed by the increased cost of living and access to healthcare, the latest climate survey of the European Investment Bank (EIB), conducted just after the August floods in Slovenia, has shown.

Releasing the 6th edition of the survey on 28 November, the EIB noted that Slovenia is one of only two EU countries where climate and environmental concerns top the list of challenges respondents see for their country. The other country is Denmark.

The impact of climate change and environmental degradation was identified as one of the top three concerns for their country by 67% of those questioned with 65% naming increased cost of living and 46% access to healthcare.

"After another challenging year marked not only by inflation, but also by catastrophic floods, Slovenian respondents have become more acutely aware of the profound impact of climate change and the need for immediate action in Slovenia and around the world," the EIB commented.

Faced with high inflation, most Slovenians are calling for fair policies to address the climate emergency. In a proportion that is in line with the EU average 68% respondents said the transition to a low-carbon economy can only happen if social and economic inequalities are addressed at the same time.

However, only 39% of respondents are confident in the government's ability to carry out such a just climate transition.

The EIB also asked whether compensation should be paid to developing countries to help them deal with the impacts of climate change, which is expected to be a central topic at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

The majority of Slovenians said the countries most vulnerable to climate change should be supported and a globally just transition to a climate-neutral and resilient future ensured.

"62% of respondents agree that the country should financially compensate affected countries to help them fight climate change," the report says, noting that this is 2 percentage points above the EU average and 10 points above Germany.

The survey also shows that 59% of Slovenian respondents would be willing to pay more income tax to help lower-income households cope with the costs of a green transition. Half would pay an extra 1-2% and 9% would agree to an extra 5-10%.

The vast majority of Slovenians would be in favour of other climate-related taxes, with 74% saying they would favour a fossil fuel tax reform to eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for the aviation sector and other fossil fuel-relying industries.

EIB Vice-President Kyriacos Kakouris commented on the survey by saying that Slovenians recognise that a successful transition to a climate-neutral world goes hand in hand with addressing social and economic inequalities at home and globally.

"The EIB stands ready to provide further support [to Slovenia] in the aftermath of the recent floods," he added.

The survey was conducted between 7 August and 4 September, shortly after the floods in Slovenia, which the EIB said likely resulted in increased awareness of the important topic of climate change.

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