Diverging Beliefs on Climate Change and Climate Policy: The Role of Political Orientation
Using longitudinal data from two household surveys in 2017 and 2019, we analyze attitudes toward climate change and climate policy in Germany. We find that nearly 20% of respondents state that they do not believe in climate change, and more than 30% are doubtful that climate change is mainly caused by human action. Moreover, we detect that political orientation is strongly correlated with these attitudes, as respondents inclined to Germany’s right-wing populist party AfD are substantially more climate-skeptical and object to climate policies more frequently. Even though our results show that climate change skepticism increased between 2017 and 2019, coinciding with the rise of the Fridays for Future movement, AfD voters did not move further away from the average respondent during this period. Moreover, fixed-effects estimations show that the climate attitudes of voters who switch to AfD during the study period hardly change, indicating that the orientation towards the AfD does not change climate attitudes. Instead, AfD might attract people who were already climate skeptical.
Knollenborg, L. and S. Sommer (2023), Diverging Beliefs on Climate Change and Climate Policy: The Role of Political Orientation. Environmental and Resource Economics (forthcoming)