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08/12/2015 | Pressemitteilung

Just under four-fifths of Germans: Climate change is already happening

Around 78 percent of Germans are convinced that climate change is already happening. That is the result of a study by the University of Kassel. A further twelve percent expect climate change in the future. These figures are significantly higher than in the USA, but lower than in in China.

According to the study by Prof. Dr. Andreas Ziegler, head of the Department of Empirical Economic Research at the University of Kassel, the proportion of climate skeptics in Germany is less than six percent. In the U.S., on the other hand, only around 69 percent of respondents are currently convinced of climate change, with a further just under ten percent expecting it in the future. In addition, around one in ten of this group denies that human activities are contributing to climate change. In contrast, more than 89 percent of respondents in China already perceive climate change, with a further nine percent expecting it in the future.

The participants in the study were also asked whether they would be willing to pay money for climate protection measures - whether in the form of public spending or through higher prices for climate-friendly products. In Germany, a majority of around 73 percent support public programs, but only around 41 percent would accept higher prices for products themselves. The figures for the USA are significantly lower (44 percent/28 percent). In China, on the other hand, around 80 percent of respondents say they would be willing to pay more money for climate-friendly products.

Further research has shown that respondents' attitudes toward climate change and combating it are very much shaped by ideological orientation and environmental awareness. For his study, Ziegler surveyed a total of more than 3,400 people in the United States (1010 respondents), Germany (1005) and China (1430). The study was part of the VolFair project - Importance of Voluntary Contributions and Fairness Preferences for the Success of International Climate Policy - which is led by the University of Kassel and financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Link to the study:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Ziegler
University of Kassel
Department of Empirical Economic Research
Tel. +49 561 804-3038