European countries must continue cooperating with each other on global issues like climate change, regardless of the recent referendum result in the UK. Brexit makes understanding different nations’ perceptions even more important. By understanding how different European countries perceive climate change, progress can be made towards addressing the issue.
How do the culture and politics of a country shape its citizens’ perceptions of climate change? Do different European nations vary in their support for different energy technologies? And how have extreme weather events influenced national views about climate change, as climate impacts start to bite? The European Perceptions of Climate Change (EPCC) project has been designed to answer precisely these kinds of questions.
In the context of a crucial moment for European climate policy, this project addresses a significant knowledge gap with regard to European public engagement with climate change. While attitudes to climate change have been well documented in individual European countries, survey designs have never been coordinated.
This two year project is being lead by Cardiff University, with an inter-disciplinary project team from Institut Symlog, University of Stuttgart, University of Bergen, and Climate Outreach. It is funded by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI).
The report takes each of the four countries involved – UK, Germany, France and Norway – and assesses them according to a set of criteria expected to have a major influence on public opinion with regards to climate change:
Cultural, historical & policy context
Key actors shaping public perceptions of energy and climate change
Key climate and energy-related events that have taken place
Anticipated consequences of climate change
Media reporting on energy and climate change
Insight from this report – combined with an ongoing process of stakeholder engagement with an international advisory panel – is being used to inform the centrepiece of the project, a survey of more than 4,000 people split across the four nations. The project team will also be producing recommendations for public engagement at the end of the project.