24 May 2024, 14:31
Julian Wettengel

German energy transition needs more focus on trust, ownership and appeal – survey

Clean Energy Wire

Germans continue to widely support the country’s energy transition but policymakers should put more focus on building trust with the population, foster its ownership regarding the transition and make the project more appealing to the average citizen,  society research initiative More in Common Germany found in a survey. The report emphasises that the call for a complete stop to the energy transition was rejected in all rounds of its talks with the surveyed focus groups. "As a rule, climate and energy policy is not a question of ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but of a ‘convincing how to’." When developing programmes, policymakers should therefore build trust by ensuring that the state delivers on basic public services like energy supply, providing better communication about the energy transition’s planned timeline and involving trusted actors, for exmple heating engineers. Enabling and supporting more direct participation through citizens' energy projects or plug-in solar systems, and ensuring that citizens can have a say in the local energy transition increases ownership. In general, policy proposals should be about how the country can not only become emissions-neutral through energy policy, but also wealthier in terms of infrastructure and public goods, collective security, and economic opportunities.

Pollster Verian surveyed more than 2,000 adults in early 2024. In addition, there were several focus group talks in eastern German regions. A large majority of respondents (73%) said that climate action is often only about what people should stop doing, and only a minority said that measures are well thought through (28%), or that policymakers succeed in explaining how these benefit Germany (30%). However, a majority said that it was important to change things in the country to improve climate protection (69%) and that binding environmental rules for everyone are necessary (72%).

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