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EPCC – European perceptions of climate change: scepticism, energy preferences, and societal transformation

An analysis of the perception of climate change and the German “Energiewende”


Public engagement with climate change, and support for policies to tackle it, is critical in creating a climate-proof Europe. This two year project involving an inter-disciplinary team from the UK, Germany, Norway and France, will seek to answer the questions how and why the perception of climate change differs in various countries and how differing values and worldviews shape this perception. The aim is to detect how the European public can and has to be included in the transformation of the energy system.

While attitudes to climate change have been well documented in individual European countries, their designs have never been coordinated. Also, each nation has its own unique sociopolitical context and energy infrastructure that need to be taken into account to make meaningful comparisons.

There is an urgent need to connect the within-country knowledge that does exist, conduct rigorous cross-national research, and synthesise public perceptions at a European level. The project addresses this need through directly comparable and nationally representative surveys of public opinion and in-depth analyses of the sociopolitical context in each participating nation. As German partner, ZIRIUS will include a focus on the specific German case of the transformation of the energy sector (“Energiewende”).

The involvement of an international stakeholder panel will strengthen the sociopolitical analyses. The project cooperates with the climate communication agency COIN to ensure a strong link between science and practice and to allow for a wide dissemination of the findings

Project partners:
  • Social and Environmental Psychology Group at School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK (Projectlead)
  • Institut Symlog de France, France
  • Department of Psychosocial Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway







Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), "Joint Programme Initiative – Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe"
Project duration: November 2014 – October 2016
Project staff: Annika Arnold, M.A.
Marco Sonnberger, M.A.
Dr. Dirk Scheer
Contact: Annika Arnold
(annika.arnold(a)zirius.uni-stuttgart.de)

Press coverage (in German):
=> FAZ
=> Tagesspiegel
=> Deutschlandfunk