16 Aug 2023, 13:45
Benjamin Wehrmann

Most Germans say state is incapable of tackling urgent tasks like climate change

Clean Energy Wire

Only about one in four people in Germany believe that the state is able to fulfil its tasks and implement effective policies to tackle the important topics of migration, education, climate and environmental protection, a survey by the country’s civil servant union dbb has found. "Citizens' trust in their state's ability to act has sunk to a new low. This is alarming," said dbb chairman Ulrich Silberbach. 27 percent of the roughly 2,000 participants asked in June this year said they are confident the state can carry out its tasks, while 69 percent regard it as overburdened. In 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, 56 percent answered they regard the state as capable of fulfilling its tasks. In western German states, climate protection, migration issues and support for Ukraine are seen as the most important problems, while respondents in eastern states regarded inflation, cost of living and social inequality as urgent tasks. "Particularly worrying in this context is the division of society that is becoming more and more apparent," Silberbach said. "The rifts between East and West, poor and rich, and according to educational attainment are getting deeper and the social stress level is rising."

Three consecutive years of crises, starting with the pandemic followed by the energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have put great pressure on Germany’s government, which switched from long-term chancellor Angela Merkel from the conservative CDU to her successor Olaf Scholz and his tripartite center-left coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in late 2021. Nearly halfway through its four-year term, Germany’s government faces increasing public discontent over its switch from two years of energy crisis management to controversial climate policies. However, the German public generally has put climate action at the top of its policy priorities for several years and remains strongly in support of the transition to a low-carbon and nuclear-free economy, continuous polling results suggest.

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