This report high­lights the wide vari­a­tion in how peo­ple in nine coun­tries (Ger­many, France, Italy, Spain, Swe­den, Poland, the Czech Repub­lic, the Unit­ed King­dom, and the Unit­ed States) view the cli­mate cri­sis and struc­tur­al changes to the econ­o­my. For many peo­ple there is a gap between their views on the econ­o­my and their eval­u­a­tion of the scope of cli­mate change pol­i­cy. If Euro­pean pol­i­cy­mak­ers and cit­i­zens are going to effec­tive­ly address the cli­mate cri­sis, they must exam­ine the econ­o­my and cli­mate poli­cies in a uni­fied and coher­ent way.

Our research indi­cates that peo­ple with for­mal edu­ca­tion do not nec­es­sar­i­ly sup­port trans­for­ma­tive poli­cies and, in fact, may even oppose them on ide­o­log­i­cal grounds. While demo­graph­ic dif­fer­ences are not con­sis­tent across coun­tries, we find that cli­mate-spe­cif­ic knowl­edge does play an impor­tant role—and to a much greater extent than for­mal edu­ca­tion in gen­er­al. Peo­ple who know more about the caus­es and con­se­quences of cli­mate change are more like­ly to favour trans­for­ma­tive cli­mate pol­i­cy as well as state inter­ven­tion in the economy.

The study shows how impor­tant it is to exam­ine the inter­play of views on cli­mate pol­i­cy specif­i­cal­ly and wider eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy. There is no auto­mat­ic link between the two and the pre­cise inter­play varies great­ly between coun­tries. Strate­gies for engag­ing publics in wider eco­nom­ic debates linked to cli­mate pol­i­cy need to be designed with a clear under­stand­ing of the respec­tive nation­al con­texts. If advo­cates and pol­i­cy­mak­ers can focus debates on spe­cif­ic, trans­for­ma­tive cli­mate poli­cies that are designed well, they may be able to work with— not against— large seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion in devel­op­ing a greater align­ment between their spe­cif­ic pref­er­ences and over­all out­look on the system.