About the project

A joint project of d|part and the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI)

Our project aims to fill a gap in our knowl­edge about how publics under­stand and engage with dis­cus­sions about the cli­mate cri­sis. While the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple care about cli­mate change, their under­stand­ings there­of may dif­fer more than is cur­rent­ly explored. By char­ac­ter­iz­ing the ways in which dif­fer­ent parts of the pop­u­la­tion make sense of the issue, we can relate dif­fer­ent pro­files of cli­mate cri­sis engage­ment to dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal par­ties’ nar­ra­tives. Rather than assum­ing that there is a dual­i­ty between pro- or anti-cli­mate action, our goal is to find ways for par­ties across the polit­i­cal spec­trum to engage peo­ple by address­ing dif­fer­ent ways of how peo­ple may be mak­ing sense of the issue in the first place.


In our project, we will there­fore dig deep­er into the diver­si­ty of cli­mate change atti­tude pro­files and exam­ine their inter­play with polit­i­cal pref­er­ences. Rather than devis­ing one strat­e­gy for engag­ing “the” pub­lic, we will aim to explore approach­es for engage­ment that can be used by dif­fer­ent actors across the polit­i­cal spec­trum. We will explore to what extent under­stand­ings of cli­mate change are coher­ent and fixed already or whether they are still some­what dif­fuse and can be shaped. Fur­ther­more, we will exam­ine to what extent even peo­ple with a strong appetite for major change are informed and aware of what sort of action is like­ly to have the biggest impact. In doing so, we will exam­ine whether peo­ple dis­tin­guish between cli­mate change actions indi­vid­u­als can take and sys­temic changes. Our approach allows for the expres­sion of com­plex views: we may find that two peo­ple both feel strong­ly about cli­mate change, but one advo­cates for rad­i­cal sys­temic change to pre­vent it, while the oth­er thinks that we need to adapt our lives to the changes like­ly to hap­pen. Nei­ther oppos­es action, but their per­cep­tions dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Under­stand­ing the vari­eties of pro­files that exist and how they link to polit­i­cal pref­er­ences is at the core of this project. 


The project is a coop­er­a­tion between OSEPI and d|part. It will have a par­tic­u­lar focus on engag­ing with polit­i­cal dis­cus­sions in Ger­many, but the results from there will also be com­pared to eight oth­er coun­tries: the Czech Repub­lic, France, Italy, Poland, Swe­den, Spain, UK and the USA. The results of the project will be pre­sent­ed pub­licly and made avail­able on the website.

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