Most Germans believe energy transition costs are unfairly distributed – survey

(Clean Energy Wire, 14 Dec 2023) More than half of Germans say they are “very” or “extremely” concerned about climate change, but there is also widespread concern over the costs of the energy transition, with 55 percent saying that it threatened social cohesion, according to a survey by the Bertelsmann foundation in collaboration with the Helmholtz Centre Institute for Sustainability Research.

The poll found that 69 percent of Germans supported the transition to renewables, with only 12 percent rejecting it completely. But only 56 percent supported the switch to green energy in transport, which was seen as hitting low-income and rural citizens particularly hard.

Three quarters of those surveyed perceived the energy transition as expensive, with 39 percent saying it threatened the country’s economic prosperity. Only 21 percent thought the transition was being implemented fairly – with 57 percent saying citizens on lower incomes were shouldering too much of the burden, and half believing that energy consumers were unfairly hit, compared to energy companies. Two-thirds thought low-income households should be given financial relief to alleviate their share of costs.

Sara Holzmann, an economist at the foundation, said the study didn’t indicate that German citizens were opposed to climate action, but politicians must take their concerns seriously. “Our results underline that climate policy measures need to be better designed, and better communicated,” she said.

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Clean Energy Wire, 14 Dec 2023: Most Germans believe energy transition costs are unfairly distributed – survey