The survey, of 12 countries of the European Union (EU), including Portugal, is the responsibility of the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), an environmental organisation that advocates sustainable policies and brings together 63 associations from the transport sector and environment in 24 European countries.

Published in a press release by the Portuguese environmental association Zero, a member of T&E, the conclusions of the survey, which covered 13,324 people, indicate strong support among citizens for the strengthening of national targets to reduce emissions. The EU has set a reduction target of 55 percent by 2030.

This increased ambition was the view expressed by 68 percent of the 88 percent of respondents who expressed an opinion on the subject. Those who considered that efforts should not increase were 24 percent and 8 percent of those who argued that, on the contrary, they should decrease.

Among those who advocated more ambition in the goals for 2030 are the citizens of southern Europe, with Italy in the lead (85 percent), followed by Spain (79 percent), Romania (73 percent) and Portugal (72 percent).

Poles (68 percent) and Hungarians (67 percent) also expressed by large majorities that their governments should set higher greenhouse gas reduction targets.

In the Netherlands and Denmark, citizens were not in favour of increasing greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, choosing instead to keep them (around 85 percent). The study indicated that the support for at least maintaining the targets is not less than 80 percent in any of the countries where the survey was carried out.

The work also showed that women are more willing to increase climate ambition, and that there are no major differences in terms of age groups.

Overall the vast majority (84 percent) of respondents supported increased climate efforts in transport and buildings through standards and regulations (such as limits on carbon dioxide emissions from cars). But less than half agreed with creating market-based instruments (European Emissions Trading) that make fuels more expensive.

Based on the survey's findings, T&E and Zero argue that the European Commission should use the overwhelming public support for new climate rules and regulations to increase ambition in sectoral policies, for example on emissions from new cars.

And they say the European Union has missed a great opportunity to raise emission reduction targets by 2030 by 60 percent, as the European Parliament had requested.

In the communiqué, Zero also recalls that the European Commission is preparing to launch a package of measures to achieve a 55 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. One of these is related to emissions from the transport and building sectors, whose reductions are either the responsibility of governments or are framed within the carbon emissions trading system. If the option is the carbon market, Zero says it does not agree, and warns that in the survey the citizens also did not agree, preferring what exists now, with national targets.