26 Oct 2020, 13:57
Sören Amelang

Consumers and politicians share blame for slow climate action, Germans say

Clean Energy Wire

People in Germany believe that politicians and consumers share equal blame for slow progress in climate action. In a survey commissioned by the E.ON foundation on the main reasons behind the country’s inability to reach climate targets like CO2 neutrality quicker, around 45 percent of respondents chose "a lack of will or courage in politics" and 43 percent "consumer behaviour". These were followed by "a lack of innovation from industry" (37%) and "the financial system doesn't take account of climate protection" (27%). Less than 19 percent saw "insufficient social pressure" as one of the main reasons. When asked to choose the best options to improve climate protection, most people (36%) named a faster coal exit followed by a duty to install solar arrays on new buildings, higher prices for meat and a speed limit on autobahns (29% percent each). Less than 9 percent chose a combustion engine ban.

The survey conducted by pollster civey in October revealed considerable differences in attitudes between different political outlooks and between men and women. While more than 83 percent of Green voters saw politicians' inaction as a main reason, only 32 percent of people supporting Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives did so. While 36 percent of women thought higher meat prices was one of the best options to advance climate protection, only 22 percent of men agreed. Women were also significantly more likely to name a highway speed limit (33%) than men (25%). In contrast, men were more likely to name an adequate CO2 price than women (29% vs 18%), and a faster coal exit (40% vs 33%). "We need a differentiated sociology of climate protection," commented Stephan Muschick, CEO of the E.ON Foundation. "Only if we know what people want can we motivate them to participate in the urgently needed changes."

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