Three-quarters of Dutch concerned about impact of climate change

© Nikki van Toorn (CBS)
Almost all Dutch people aged 18 and over believe the climate is changing; 6 percent do not believe in climate change or are unsure. Three-quarters of the population are concerned about the impact of climate change on future generations. A large majority want less fossil fuels and more green energy. Most people are in favour of wind turbines, but do not want them in their own ‘backyard’. This is according to the Perceptions 2020 survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

More than 3.6 thousand inhabitants of the Netherlands aged 18 and over were questioned for the Perceptions survey between February and June 2020. They were asked what they thought and what they were doing about climate change and the energy transition. The survey had been under way for several weeks when the coronavirus crisis broke out in the Netherlands. The coronavirus crisis and subsequent measures may have influenced the respondents' answers.

Six out of 10 people believe humans are the main cause of climate change

Six out of 10 adults believe that climate change is caused entirely (12 percent) or mainly (48 percent) by humans. Over one-quarter (27 percent) state that it is caused equally by humans and nature. Five percent believe nature is the main cause of climate change and 1 percent attribute climate change entirely to nature.

Cause of climate change, 2020
Oorzaak klimaatveranderingShare
Entirely by humans11.9
Mainly by humans47.7
Equally by humans and nature26.8
Mainly by nature4.7
Entirely by nature1.0
Don't know the cause1.9
No answer0.3
Don't believe in climate change or don't know5.7

Large majority want more green energy

Almost half of Dutch people aged 18 and over want to see less use of petroleum and natural gas; around 1 in 10 want the Netherlands to stop using these fossil fuels completely. A large majority are in favour of green energy. Eighty-three percent want greater use of solar energy and 73 percent want greater use of wind energy. Many Dutch people also consider hydro power and geothermal heat to be a sustainable alternative. Opinions on the use of nuclear energy and biomass are divided.

View on use of energy sources, 2020
EnergiebronMore (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)As much as now (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)Less (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)Not at all (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)Don't know (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)Don't know the source (% of Dutch population aged 18 yrs and over)
Natural gas6.524.848.48.610.51.1
Wind energy72.514.
Solar energy83.
Geothermal heat56.310.84.02.617.78.5
Nuclear energy25.012.417.825.416.42.9

Most Dutch people in favour of wind turbines, but not in their ‘backyard’

A large proportion of the population, 71 percent, support the construction of new wind turbines in the Netherlands. The Dutch are less enthusiastic, however, about having wind turbines in their own area: Twenty-one percent are in favour and 31 percent are against. Forty-three percent say it depends. The location of the wind turbines is the most frequently cited factor: they must not be too close to their home. Most Dutch people therefore prefer to have no wind turbines near their home.

Fifty-three percent of Dutch people are positive about energy transition

Over half of the population believe it is positive or very positive that the government wants to make the Netherlands free of natural gas by switching to sustainable energy sources. The most frequently cited reason is that natural gas contributes to CO2 emissions (and hence climate change). Another frequently cited reason is that the extraction of natural gas leads to subsoil shifts and subsidence, as in the earthquakes in Groningen. Another reason given for discontinuing the use of natural gas is that it will eventually run out.

Attitude towards transition from natural gas to sustainable energy, 2020
Positive/very positive53.4
Neither positive nor negative21.0
Negative/very negative19.0
Don't know5.1
No answer1.4