| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy

Why identity matters for EU climate and energy policy

Can ambitious climate policies in the European Green Deal succeed when faced with rising societal divisions between Europeans?

A recent article in the Journal of European Public Policy by Brandt School doctoral researcher Silvia Weko looks at attitudes towards climate change, and whether the EU might see the same divisions around climate as it has in other policy fields like migration. The paper finds that political ideology – whether a person is more cosmopolitan or communitarian – is the most important determinant of individual attitudes, and that differences in attitudes between Eastern and Western Europe may be explained by energy security and economic development  issues. The EU has maintained an ambitious policy since the mid-2010s, and with the Green Deal appears to be framing climate ambition in ways that the data suggests may reduce communitarian opposition, but not the differences between EU Member States resulting from security concerns.