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Rising energy prices related to climate policies

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Geneva – Most people around the world don’t blame climate policies for rising energy costs, a new survey says.

Consumer support for ending the use of fossil fuels remains strong but people expect surging energy prices will reduce their spending power.

Globally, energy prices are surging upwards. The new World Economic Form survey shows people don’t blame climate policies but they strongly support moves to end the use of fossil fuels.

The survey of over 22,500 adults in 30 countries, conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum, found more than half of consumers expect rising energy costs to significantly reduce their spending power in 2022.

Results varied by country, however, with two-thirds of people living in South Africa, Japan and Turkey saying they expect to have less money to spend this year, compared to just over one-third in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

People on low incomes and those aged 35 to 49 were most worried about their financial future.

But despite the impact on their financial situation, people remain strongly supportive of climate policies, with an average of 84 percent saying that it is important to them personally that their country moves away from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.

This view was strongly held in all countries, ranging from 72 percent of people in Russia and 75 percent in the United States to 93 percent in South Africa and Peru; the strongest feelings about the importance of ending reliance on fossil fuels was found in emerging nations.

Although support was strong among all demographic groups, slightly more women (87 percent) thought it was important to move away from fossil fuels than men (81 percent).

Only 13 percent of those questioned blamed climate policies for rising energy prices, with most naming volatility in oil and gas markets and current geopolitical tensions as the primary causes. Almost one in five said insufficient supply to meet demand was to blame.

Policies to tackle climate change were most commonly blamed in India where 24 percent of people thought they were the cause of energy price rises, followed by a fifth of people in Germany and 19 percent in Poland. Almost a fifth of business decision-makers shared that view.

The Netherlands was the only country where a majority of people identified a single cause for price rises, with 54 percent citing geopolitical tensions. Over two-fifths (46 percent) of people in Belgium and 42 percent of people in Italy agreed this was the main cause.

Well-managed clean energy transitions can help reduce energy market volatility and its impacts on businesses and consumers. The World Economic Forum’s fostering effective energy transition 2021 report agreed.