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20 Jul 2023, 13:16
Julian Wettengel

Support for climate movement halves as Germans reject street blockades – survey

Clean Energy Wire

Germans' support for the climate movement has halved following the rise of highly controversial street blockades by more radical activists, shows a survey by More in Common Germany, an initiative that researches social cohesion. “All parts of society are much more critical of the climate movement today than they were two years ago – it has not gained or maintained ground with anyone,” says the organisation. Support dropped from 68 percent in 2021 to 34 percent in May this year. While many people see a need for strong actions by the climate movement, the share of respondents who say that protests often go too far has grown substantially (from about half in 2021 to 85%), says More in Common. Only 8 percent express sympathy for street blockades by the activist group Last Generation, while 85 percent disagree with these protests. “It seems to many that the most important point is that it is not right to want to hit citizens directly in their everyday lives with actions,” writes the organisation.

Polls continue to show that the German public often puts climate action at the top of its policy priorities and remains strongly in support of the transition to a low-carbon economy. However, certain forms of climate protests have been widely criticised. Climate activists from Last Generation disrupted traffic across Germany by gluing themselves to roads throughout 2022, and have stepped up their efforts recently. The protests have been largely rejected by the population, and chancellor Olaf Scholz recently labelled them “completely nutty”.

More in Common Germany calls the results a “snapshot” and says that, beneath the surface of the findings, “there continues to be a consolidated awareness of the problem among the population and a desire for collective action”. More in Common warns that a divisive debate can slow climate protection if it is pitting people against each other along cultural divides, and calls for a unifying debate. “Once a culture war gets going on the basis of false or unnecessary antagonisms – such as the supposed dividing line between activists on the one hand and commuting workers on the other – it can sweep away the positive climate protection potential that exists in people's minds.”

 

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