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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Hansen

All Political Sides Fear Climate – Time is Ripe to Talk it Out

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Climate protection may split politicians in an ongoing election campaign. A new study shows potential that the climate challenge can unify people from all political sides. Ideas, tools and methods for constructive conversations about the climate are in urgent demand.

The German federal election campaign is in full swing and climate change is one of the central issues. The grim recent IPCC-report might make it even more intense. According to a recent study by the think tank More in Common the political debate over climate is experienced as divisive by 80 percent of the people. At the same time it has a lot of unifying potential for people across political divides.

The study examines how the topics of climate protection and social cohesion relate. They use six main population types that were the result of an earlier study on social dividing lines in Germany: - The Open who value self-expression, open-mindedness and critical thinking

- The Involved who are civic-minded and active democrats, value togetherness, and are willing to defend progressive social achievements

- The Established who value reliability and social harmony and are most likely to feel satisfied with the status quo

- The Detached who value success and personal advancement, are less likely to think in abstract societal terms or to be interested in politics

- The Disillusioned who have lost a sense of community and long for recognition and social justice

- The Angry who value order and control in national life, are angry at the system, and have very low levels of trust

All types agree that the debate on climate protection is driving people apart. At the same time the vast majority think more about climate protection. 80 percent say, for example, that they are personally concerned about climate change. Only three percent believe that climate change will not be felt at all in Germany.

Many also avoid talking about climate policy in private. And when they discuss climate protection, it feels like confrontational competitions between lifestyles. According to their own statements, very few people want this individualization and this kind of debate.

This results in untapped potential between people to talk about climate as a joint effort to shape society.

We from Fika Project go with the recommendations from the authors of the study: Let's have the confidence to talk about climate policy in everyday life. Let's avoid cornering each other with individual lifestyle issues. Let's discuss questions on how to shape an eco-friendly society with empathy to understand different priorities and concerns.

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