After a summer 2022 marked by several heat waves, an intense period of drought and devastating fires, the French are not approaching the next summer season with serenity. As summer approaches, three-quarters of them (76%) express their concern about global warming, according to an Ifop* survey for the association Consequences (which focuses on the impacts of climate change on everyday life).
The French "have understood that the coming summers will unfortunately be marked by the consequences" of this warming and that past heat waves "will become the norm," notes the director of the association, Sylvain Trottier. 92% of respondents report an intensification of climatic events in their region, including heat waves and heat waves (62% say they have increased in frequency) and droughts. And 87% believe that these impacts will increase in the more or less long term.
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The survey compares the level of concern for the entire France to that of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, where it jumps to 83% (33% even say they are very worried). If this result is probably fueled by a more sustained intensification of climate change in this region, "we have very common observations between the two groups, we are not on two different worlds," observes Frédéric Dabi, director general of Ifop. According to him, "generational divides have faded, as have geographical divides: now, the phenomenon is global, whether we are in Dunkirk, Lille, Nantes or Paca".
Thus, even if in the current context of inflation purchasing power remains the number one concern of the French, climate change comes in third place, after health. "We are no longer on the battle 'end of the world against end of the month'," says Frédéric Dabi. 61% of respondents say they are particularly concerned about the impacts of global warming on agricultural and food production, more than half about water restrictions or the risk of fires (60%). In the PACA region, this fear of fires concerns three quarters of respondents.
Citizens ready to make efforts
Faced with these risks, only 11% of French people have the impression that sufficient actions have been put in place near them. An inertia that pushes them to take responsibility, according to the survey: if the State is designated as the main actor to take measures (67%), "individual citizens" come in second place (39%). And good practices are taking hold: "The majority of respondents (86%) say they are ready to reduce their water consumption (70% say they are already doing so)" and 68% say they are ready to install water collectors, notes Sylvain Trottier, who recalls that "the 2022 barometer of the Water Information Center conducted by Kantar establishes a constant increase in the fear of running out of water on the part of the French for ten years. years (from 49% to 69% between 2013 and 2022)".
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These fears are well-founded, at least for the coming summer. Despite late rains in May in several regions, a large majority of groundwater remains at worrying levels, according to the latest monthly report from the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM). On 1 May, 68% of groundwater was at "moderately low to very low levels". Restrictions are already in place in many departments. The Gard and the Pyrénées-Orientales are even largely at the "crisis" level: only priority samples (related to health and safety) are authorized.
Map of water use limitation orders at 5 June. Propluvia
If the French express their concern for the coming summer, global warming could permanently change their summer habits, according to the Ifop survey. 53% say they are ready to go at times of the year when weather conditions are milder or to prefer a destination where it is less hot. Frédéric Dabi finally notes a "staggering" figure: 6% of respondents (8% in the PACA region) say that the consequences of global warming encourage them to move permanently. "We are certainly only on the declarative, but it represents a significant part of the population," notes the director of Ifop. And an eloquent sign of general awareness.
Survey conducted in May2023 with a "general public" sample of 1508 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over, and a "Paca" sample of 901 people representative of the population living in the PACA region and aged 18 andover.