Germans want their country to be climate pioneer, but are split on specifics – ifo Institute
Clean Energy Wire
Most citizens want Germany to play a leading role in climate protection, but they are divided over how to achieve this, slowing down climate policy efforts, said the ifo Institute for Economic Research based on the results of a survey. Fifty-five percent of respondents said Germany should take a lead, while 33 percent disagreed with the idea, according to the survey conducted by the non-profit Nuremberg Institute for Market Decision (NIM).
When asked to choose the most important of five different measures to reach the government’s 2045 climate neutrality target, 28 percent suggested subsidies for climate-friendly measures, such as funding for electric cars. Sixteen percent named requirements to ensure low emissions, such as minimum standards for house construction or renewable energy use. Another 16 percent named bans on climate-damaging measures, for example outlawing the installation of new gas heating systems. Only eight percent chose CO2 pricing, which serves to incentivise the use of low-emission alternatives. "Our results show that the opinion of the population in Germany differs considerably from the recommendations of economists. The majority of the latter are in favour of CO2 prices, for example in emissions trading," said Sarah Necker, head of the Ludwig Erhard ifo Center, in a press statement.
This divergence might also be due to a lack of knowledge about CO2 pricing among most Germans, a finding revealed in a survey last year. According to Michael Zürn, senior researcher at NIM, the figures show the disagreement within society over concrete environmental policy measures. "The strong contrasts could be one reason for the current backlog of reforms," Zürn said.
The German public has put climate action at the top of policy priorities for several years and remains strongly supportive of the transition to a low-carbon economy. However, last year’s public discontent with the government posed a risk to Germany’s move to climate neutrality. According to a recent survey, 71 percent of German voters say that the government must make sure that climate targets are met, but people lack trust in the abilities of major parties to tackle the issue.