09 Mar 2023, 11:55
Carolina Kyllmann

Research map reveals great local differences across Germany in attitude to climate action

Clean Energy Wire

Public support for climate protection measures such as the introduction of speed limits or the building of wind turbines, is split markedly between rural and urban areas as well as between states in eastern and western Germany, a report by a group of research institutes under the umbrella of the Ariadne project found. Based on data from two national surveys, the researchers estimated the acceptance of 26 different climate protection measures at the regional level over time. They found that there was greater support in urban areas than in the countryside; with Berlin, Hamburg and Freiburg im Breisgau boasting the highest approval rates across all policy areas. There are also clear differences between east and west Germany, with those in the western districts willing to pay higher prices for climate protection (54% compared to 39%) and fossil fuels (59% compared to 50%), and being more likely to support the coal phase-out and the introduction of a climate levy for buildings, amongst other things.

There are also temporal differences, with acceptance rates for wind and solar projects increasing in areas where these have already been built, according to the report. Moreover, people feel more positive about subsidies and infrastructure development than they do about bans and tax increases. A ban on new passenger car registrations running on petrol or diesel engines from 2030 is one of the most unpopular climate protection measure across the country, the authors found. Climate protection measures “gain momentum through the approval of citizens, but can also be slowed down by their resistance,” the authors wrote, adding that they hope the data can help policymakers “design communication and dialogue campaigns that are appropriate for the target group and the topic at hand.”

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