Climate protection and climate change remain important issues during the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent survey, more than 90 per cent of German households stated that the importance of climate change has not changed or has even increased since the beginning of the year. The survey was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and carried out on behalf of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, as well as ZEW Mannheim and other cooperation partners.

More than 90% of households still say that climate protection is a high priority for them.
The survey, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), shows that the majority of households are in favour of combining climate protection and economic aid.

“Climate protection remains a central issue for people even during the coronavirus pandemic. This came to us as a surprise, especially since a large number of households are reporting financial losses,” says Manuel Frondel, head of the Environment and Resources research department at RWI. ZEW environmental economist Daniel Osberghaus adds, “the people surveyed are in favour of measures that will limit the economic consequences of the pandemic but at the same time help to achieve climate targets. Views on climate policy are also remaining stable during the pandemic.”

The most important facts in brief

  • In a recent survey of more than 6,000 households, only 0.6 per cent of those questioned stated they had been infected with the coronavirus and that this was verifiable. About half of the households surveyed suffered financial losses, however, and just under eight per cent of those surveyed even reported large or very large losses.
  • Climate change nonetheless remains an important issue for 70 per cent of the people surveyed. Only six per cent of the respondents believe climate change has lost importance since the beginning of the year. 23 per cent believe that it has gained importance in recent months.
  • A clear majority of those surveyed (63 per cent) are in favour of linking economic and climate policy during the coronavirus crisis, i.e. measures to support the economy should at the same time help to achieve climate targets. Just under 37 per cent believe that social justice is even more important in this context than climate change, while only around 28 per cent of households think that reviving the economy is the top priority and that all other goals, including climate protection, should be subordinated to this goal.
  • 62 per cent of those surveyed say that public investments should only be made if they contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. When it comes to purchasing premiums for fuel burners, the federal government can get confirmation from the results of the study; a drive-independent purchase premium for cars is supported by only nine per cent of those surveyed. In contrast, 34 per cent of the respondents support a purchase premium for cars with climate-friendly drive systems.
  • A reduction in electricity prices was also met with great approval: 69 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of a price reduction e.g. in the form of a lower EEG (German Renewable Energy Sources Act).

About the survey

The survey took place between mid-May and mid-June 2020 and is part of the BMBF-funded research project called “Eval-MAP 2”. It was conducted by the market research institute forsa on behalf of RWI, ZEW Mannheim, the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IÖR), and the University of Potsdam, with more than 6,000 households having taken part in the survey. The respondents belong to the forsa household panel, which is representative of the German-speaking population.



    Energy Transition and Climate Change

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