05 Jul 2023, 14:02
Carolina Kyllmann

Majority in Germany strongly supports energy transition, is dissatisfied with implementation – survey

Clean Energy Wire

There is high acceptance for ambitious climate policy in Germany, although many citizens are dissatisfied with the political implementation of the energy and transport transitions, the largest scientific representative survey monitoring the social acceptance of the country’s climate policies found. Most people (68%) continue to strongly support the energy transition despite many uncertainties, the annual Social Sustainability Barometer conducted by the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS) found. “Even against the backdrop of war and inflation, people in Germany consider climate change to be one of the most pressing social problems,” co-author Jean-Henri Huttarsch said. 41 percent of respondents agreed that the issue of climate protection has gained in importance because of the energy crisis. Despite the overall support, however, “citizens are dissatisfied with the relief measures taken so far to cushion inflation and increased energy prices,” co-author Ingo Wolf said. Two thirds (62%) said the government measures implemented in 2022 only brought minor relief, or none at all. More than half (53%) said it’s the political implementation – more than high costs or bureaucracy – that bothers them most when it comes to the energy transition.

Moreover, many people underestimate (by five to 27 percentage points, depending on the policy area) fellow citizens’ support for climate protection, such as the building of wind turbines near their homes. This may give policymakers the wrong impression that there is not enough support to implement the necessary measures, the researchers warn. “The clarification of majority and minority relationships on individual measures for the electricity and transport transition is therefore very important for political discourse and decision-making,” Ortwin Renn of RIFS warns. Germany’s current heated debate around a de facto ban on fossil heating systems has shown how sensitive the implementation of climate protection measures can be.

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