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Climate change awareness in Germany - statistics & facts

Climate change awareness in Germany has been a topic for a long time. Due to the increasingly encompassing nature of the issue, the general population at individual consumer level, companies in every industry and the government are forced to confront the fact that human consumption and industrial activity negatively impact the environment. In turn, this negative impact leads to long-lasting, not always reversible damage. Research and warnings from experts depict a vicious cycle, which has had an enormous amount of time to mature. Non-sustainable, unlimited human use of the Earth's resources to produce, manufacture, consume, and sell leads to the ongoing depletion of these resources. Poisonous waste from the aforementioned activities harms the environment, polluting air, rivers, lakes and oceans, destroying forests, to name just a few examples. Greenhouse gases from industrial production contribute to global warming, creating a situation where the climate essentially hits back.

Flooding as a result of global warming is one example of such a climate pushback. The recent calamitous floods around the rivers Ahr and Erft, caused by excessive rainfall in the area, have led to repeated questions about the effects of climate change on Germany and whether it is too late to reverse a future catastrophe of this magnitude. The floods left not only extreme destruction in their wake, but also led to fatalities. Based on a recent survey conducted in Germany, 42 percent of respondents completely agreed that many talked about climate protection, but did not act in a climate-friendly way themselves. Over 44 percent of respondents also fully agreed with the idea of individual responsibility in preventing further climate change. Climate protection is defined as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, further meaning the decrease or adjustment of activities which fuel these emissions in the first place. One example of international political action in this field is the Paris Agreement of 2015, with Germany being one of the signatories.

When asked about the most important environmental issues of our time, Germans put global warming and climate change at the top of the list. Simultaneously, for the most part, respondents to further surveys showed a moderate interest in protecting the environment. Whether this is due to being uninformed about the link between environmental protection from harmful human activity and subsequent climate effects, or a simple disregard, is unclear. It could also be due to missing information on what constitutes harmful activity. However, regarding personal behavior to increase sustainability in daily life, Germans are eager to tick numerous boxes: avoiding flying, biking or walking, buying regional products and paying attention to product origins when shopping. Another way to contribute to climate protection would be not using the internet, but in an increasingly digitalized world, in which digital alternatives are also, ironically, introduced to avoid other types of waste, this is a tough pill to swallow for consumers and businesses alike. In fact, especially younger Germans stated they could not do without the internet. Thus, while awareness, even fear of climate change is present in Germany, it clashes with decisions about personal habits and actions, the need for transparent information, as well as wide-reaching climate and environment protection legislation for private citizens, businesses, and industries.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Climate change awareness in Germany" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Average temperatures

Greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions

Forest fires

Other interesting statistics

Climate change awareness in Germany - statistics & facts

Climate change awareness in Germany has been a topic for a long time. Due to the increasingly encompassing nature of the issue, the general population at individual consumer level, companies in every industry and the government are forced to confront the fact that human consumption and industrial activity negatively impact the environment. In turn, this negative impact leads to long-lasting, not always reversible damage. Research and warnings from experts depict a vicious cycle, which has had an enormous amount of time to mature. Non-sustainable, unlimited human use of the Earth's resources to produce, manufacture, consume, and sell leads to the ongoing depletion of these resources. Poisonous waste from the aforementioned activities harms the environment, polluting air, rivers, lakes and oceans, destroying forests, to name just a few examples. Greenhouse gases from industrial production contribute to global warming, creating a situation where the climate essentially hits back.

Flooding as a result of global warming is one example of such a climate pushback. The recent calamitous floods around the rivers Ahr and Erft, caused by excessive rainfall in the area, have led to repeated questions about the effects of climate change on Germany and whether it is too late to reverse a future catastrophe of this magnitude. The floods left not only extreme destruction in their wake, but also led to fatalities. Based on a recent survey conducted in Germany, 42 percent of respondents completely agreed that many talked about climate protection, but did not act in a climate-friendly way themselves. Over 44 percent of respondents also fully agreed with the idea of individual responsibility in preventing further climate change. Climate protection is defined as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, further meaning the decrease or adjustment of activities which fuel these emissions in the first place. One example of international political action in this field is the Paris Agreement of 2015, with Germany being one of the signatories.

When asked about the most important environmental issues of our time, Germans put global warming and climate change at the top of the list. Simultaneously, for the most part, respondents to further surveys showed a moderate interest in protecting the environment. Whether this is due to being uninformed about the link between environmental protection from harmful human activity and subsequent climate effects, or a simple disregard, is unclear. It could also be due to missing information on what constitutes harmful activity. However, regarding personal behavior to increase sustainability in daily life, Germans are eager to tick numerous boxes: avoiding flying, biking or walking, buying regional products and paying attention to product origins when shopping. Another way to contribute to climate protection would be not using the internet, but in an increasingly digitalized world, in which digital alternatives are also, ironically, introduced to avoid other types of waste, this is a tough pill to swallow for consumers and businesses alike. In fact, especially younger Germans stated they could not do without the internet. Thus, while awareness, even fear of climate change is present in Germany, it clashes with decisions about personal habits and actions, the need for transparent information, as well as wide-reaching climate and environment protection legislation for private citizens, businesses, and industries.

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