Climate Policy in Times of the Corona Pandemic: Empirical Evidence from Germany
Given the dramatic changes triggered by the Corona pandemic, the question arises whether it has displaced people’s concerns about climate change and whether Corona-related financial losses among affected households can influence their assessment of climate change. Based on a survey among more than 6,000 German household heads conducted in the period spanning from May 18 to June 14, 2020, this paper provides empirical evidence on the impact of the pandemic on perceptions of climate change and climate policy, as well as the extent to which respondents are affected in terms of health and finances. Although the majority of almost 77% of the respondents is concerned about their own health and that of their families, according to our descriptive results, climate change appears to remain an important issue: only six percent of the respondents feel that climate change has become less important since the beginning of 2020, while about 70% of the respondents see no change in the importance of the issue. Yet, employing discrete-choice models, our estimation results indicate that households that suffered from Coronarelated financial losses consider climate change to be less important than households that remained unaffected in this respect. In accord with Engler et al. (2020), we thus conclude that lowering individual financial losses is not only relevant from a social perspective, but it is also critical for the acceptance of climate policy measures.