Climate change is one of the pivotal challenges for the human race. The German Energiewende does not only lead to a technological transformation of the energy system, but also makes private households' energy consumption more expensive. Social science behavioral research has shown that the acceptance of a reform like the Energiewende at the societal level crucially depends on the perceived equitableness of the individual distribution of financial burdens.
The research network "The societal acceptance of the Energiewende (AKZEPTANZ)" is coordinated by the Technical University of Clausthal and will receive about 900,000 Euros in the next three years. The subprojects "Philosophical and Behavioral Aspects" of the University of Bremen are directed by Professor Dagmar Borchers (Institute of Philosophy) and Professor Stefan Traub (ZeS, Economics Department) and will be endowed with 400,000 Euros. The project will carry out research on the societal acceptance of the Energiewende, based on individual preferences. In contrast to opinion polls that assess attitudes, the project will focus on actual energy consumption behavior in the scope of field experiments and by means of an energy-consumption household panel (directed by the project partner RWI, Essen). From the behavioral reactions of households on different funding schemes for the Energiewende, the project will derive economic policy conclusions for carrying out the Energiewende. Apart from economic efficiency of funding the Energiewende, the project focuses on aspects of equity: How can the financial burdens of the Energiewende be distributed among households in a just manner that avoids social hardships (like energy poverty)? The research network is accompanied by an advisory board consisting of the German Federal Consumer Association, the German Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry, the Confederation of German Trade Unions, several electric utilities and other partners.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Traub
Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 6541-2865