Israel 2050 Survey of Public Opinion on the Climate Crisis: Part II

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Getting the public to act—a mapping of obstacles abstract

Flash 90

Main Findings

Installing Solar Panels

• The survey reveals the need to enhance public awareness and provide better information on this issue, as two-thirds of the respondents are unaware of the possibility of cutting electricity bills and reducing air pollution by installing solar panels on their roofs.

• Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents are aware of the advantages of installing solar panels, but only 6% have actually installed them.

• The main factors that would help members of the public install solar panels on their roofs are: Financial assistance or subsidies for installation (51% of respondents), a better understanding of the benefits of installation (37%), and logistical assistance (26%).

Upgrading Residential Buildings to the Green Standard

• The survey also reveals a strong need to enhance awareness regarding the advantages of upgrading residential buildings to the Green Standard, as around one-half of respondents (47%) are unaware of the possibility to cut electricity bills and reduce air pollution in this way.

• On the other hand, around half (52%) of respondents are aware of the advantages of meeting the Green Standard, though only 9% have actually carried out the necessary alterations to their buildings.

• The main factors that would help members of the public upgrade their homes to the Green Standard are: Financial assistance for alterations (44%), launching a municipal renewal track so that all the apartments in a building can be upgraded at the same time (35%), and a better understanding of the individual benefits of this step (27%).

Reducing Private Car Travel and Shifting to Electric Vehicles

• Some 75% of respondents use a private car to get around, with a particularly high proportion found in the Arab public (84%).

• The main factors cited as encouraging respondents to reduce their use of private cars in normal times (not during the COVID-19 pandemic) were: Improving the frequency of public transportation (35%), and improving the accessibility of public transportation to residential and business areas (31%).

• The willingness to cut down on the use of private cars particularly low among Arab respondents, of whom 42% noted that none of the possibilities mentioned would cause them to use private cars less, compared with around 23% of Jews (not including the ultra-Orthodox).

• By contrast, there was high willingness to reduce private car use among ultra-Orthodox/ Haredi Jewish respondents.

• Positive financial incentives (tax benefits or grants for low mileage use) were cited as being a more effective means of curbing private car use, compared with negative incentives (such as a congestion charge or a tax on using polluting fuels).

A Just Transition

• The majority of respondents (62%) believe that vulnerable populations should receive special assistance with installing solar panels, upgrading homes to the Green Standard, and/or for purchasing an electric vehicle, by means of financial incentives and financial support, to ensure that these populations are also able to enjoy the benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy, such as savings on electricity and fuel bills. Only 28% of interviewees believe that financial incentives should be equal for everyone.

• Respondents prefer that state income from carbon taxes be used for one of the following: Lowering VAT (30%), government investment in improving transportation infrastructure (30%), and providing incentives for the public to shift to environmentally friendly energy sources (29%).

Background and Methodology

This survey is a sequel of a previous public opinion survey on climate issues, conducted by the research team in November 2020. Both surveys aimed at gaining a better understanding of Israeli public opinion on environmental issues and of the public’s willingness to take active steps in order to reduce pollution, including taking on the financial cost of such action.

These surveys were conducted as part of “Israel 2050: A Thriving Economy in a Sustainable Environment,” a comprehensive project spearheaded by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministries of the Economy, Energy, and Transport, and the Israel Planning Administration. The project aims to examine the extent to which the Israeli economy is gearing up for reducing carbon emissions, and to propose a strategic plan and policy goals for 2050, which Israel was to submit to the United Nations by the end of 2020.

The surveys were conducted as part of an initiative led by IDI aimed at gaining an in-depth understanding of the effects of policies to reduce emissions on various sectors of the Israeli population, , and of the steps needed to ensure that the negative ramifications for vulnerable populations are kept to a minimum, and at the same time-- ensuring that they enjoy the maximum benefit from the positive outcomes of these policies. A team of IDI researchers will present the main insights from these surveys as a chapter in a more extensive report currently being prepared on, “A Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy in Israel,” which will be published for public review in the coming months.

The survey was based on a representative sample of the general Israeli population age 18 and above, comprising 765 respondents. It was conducted both online (546 respondents) and by phone (219 respondents) between February 5 and February 9, 2021., 613 interviews were conducted in Hebrew and 152 in Arabic, The maximum sampling error is 3.54%, with a confidence level of 95% (Jews 3.96%, Arabs, 7.95%).


Data processing: Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research

Field work: Panels Politics Ltd.

Questionnaire design: Daphna Aviram-Nitzan, Hila Shoef-Kollwitz, and Erez Sommer, with the professional supervision and oversight of the Viterbi Family Center