Climate Barometer 2023: The majority of Finns see climate solutions as an opportunity to improve competitiveness and wellbeing
The majority of Finns consider that Finland can improve its competitiveness by investing in climate solutions and new kinds of competencies. Besides climate change, biodiversity loss has emerged as a serious environmental crisis, and the majority of the people are of the opinion that solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss should be sought as a whole.
A clear majority of Finns (61%) hope that the fight against the climate crisis will be one of the key themes of the next government term. This is despite the fact that many people are also concerned about Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, rising prices and energy issues.
Major investments in the green transition are being planned in Finland. The majority (79%) of the respondents believe that Finland can improve its competitiveness by investing in climate change mitigation e.g. by developing competence and new technological solutions.
Although the climate crisis is seen as a serious threat, the majority of Finns see opportunities in climate solutions: 68% of the respondents consider that climate-sustainable and climate change resilient solutions improve people’s wellbeing in Finland.
These are among the findings of the survey carried out by Kantar Public, commissioned by the Steering Group for Central Government Climate Communications. The Climate Barometer 2023 survey was conducted to find out the views of the Finns on climate change and climate policy before the general elections.
Number of people with positive attitude towards climate action has decreased
The aim of the survey was to find out how the views of the Finns on climate issues have changed compared to the previous Climate Barometers. The questions asked have been about the same since 2015.
A similar survey was last conducted before the 2019 parliamentary elections, when the fight against climate change was considered even more important: at that time, 70% of Finns hoped that solutions to the climate crisis would be one of the Government’s key themes. In 2019, 44% of the respondents said that in the parliamentary elections they will vote for a candidate who is working actively to mitigate climate change. Now this figure is 32%.
The respondents are clearly divided in climate issues. The attitudes are the most positive among the young, women, people with higher education, and the supporters of the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Left Alliance.
The supporters of the Finns Party, the National Coalition Party and the Centre Part consider climate actions as less important. The division between regions is also clear. Those living in the Greater Helsinki area are more in favour of climate action than those living in rural areas.
Links between climate change and biodiversity loss recognised
For the first time, the survey asked about the links between climate change and biodiversity loss. As many as 79% of the respondents consider that solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss should be sought as a whole. 64% of the respondents consider that the Finnish Government should be more active in its efforts to halt biodiversity loss.
Preserving the forest carbon sinks is still considered important: 71% of the respondents hope that more attention would be paid to forest harvesting volumes and management practices in order to preserve carbon sinks. However, this is 12 percentage points less than in 2019.
Energy savings to boost climate solutions
The survey shows that major steps forward have been taken in energy savings: 74% of the respondents are willing to consume less energy when the demand is the highest. This is clearly higher than in 2019, when this figure was 62%.
67% of the respondents also report that they have reduced electricity and heat consumption. 73% of the respondents consider that municipalities should speed up the transition to a sustainable energy system, such as one based on wind power, solar energy or hydropower.
“This winter, large numbers of Finns have made fantastic efforts to save energy. Now we should move on to more permanent energy actions, that is, continue renovations that improve the energy-efficiency of people’s homes in the long term and invest in non-fossil heating systems. These energy savings show that we can change our habits quickly, which is an absolute necessity to mitigate climate change,” says Expert Päivi Suur-Uski from Motiva.
Half of Finns make climate-sustainable choices in their everyday lives
52% of the respondents reported that they make climate-sustainable choices and that making them is easy. 52% also told that the everyday environment supports making climate-sustainable choices.
“It is most gratifying that more than half of the respondents found it easy to make climate-sustainable choices. Finns have been encouraged to halve their carbon footprint, but in the past couple of decades such a major change has not yet taken place. To mainstream climate-sustainable everyday life, more action is needed in housing, mobility, eating and the consumption of other goods and services,” says Marja Salo, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute.
43% of the respondents reported that they had reduced their purchases of goods for climate reasons. More than a third (35%) had reduced the use of cars and increased the use of sustainable modes of mobility, such as walking, cycling or public transport. In 2019, the figure for those who had reduced the use of cars was clearly higher (43%).
How the survey was conducted?
A total of 1,043 respondents aged 15 to 74 years from different parts of Finland, except for the Åland Islands, participated in the survey. The margin of error is about 3 percentage points in either direction.
The study was commissioned by the Steering Group for Climate Communications, which has representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Finance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, Prime Minister’s Office, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Motiva, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Academy of Finland, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Demos Helsinki, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Business Finland and Finnish National Agency for Education.
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 50 572 2280
tel. +358 50 370 0939
Climate solutions and climate policy:
Senior Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 50 341 1758
Leading Specialist, Sitra
tel. +358 294 618 411
Technology solutions and competitiveness:
Senior Vice President Strategy
+358 40 589 6263
Senior Research Scientist
Finnish Environment Institute
tel. +358 295 251 131
Housing and energy solutions
tel. +358 44 300 1369
Biodiversity and climate, forest ecosystems and agriculture:
Natural Resources Institute Finland
tel. +358 29 532 3782
Sustainable mobility solutions:
Senior Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of Transport and Communications
tel. +358 40 015 3745