| Erfurt Laboratory for Empirical Research, Faculty of Philosophy, Research

PACE asks: How do we think about climate protection?

Climate change is considered by scientists worldwide to be the greatest global threat to human health. Yet so far, people have often been hesitant to act when it comes to preserving our livelihoods. A new research project called PACE (Planetary Health Action Survey) will develop strategies and methods to improve climate communication and to design climate protection measures in such a way that they are accepted and supported by the public.

The research project is a cooperation between the University of Erfurt, the Robert Koch Institute, the Federal Centre for Health Education, the Leibniz Institute for Psychology, the Science Media Center and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. Its goal is to create a basis for climate protection at the political and social level - and thus to accelerate it.

In doing so, PACE takes a psychological look at climate change and above all at people's willingness to act to protect the climate. This is because people differ in how they perceive health risks from climate change, trust the government, and the social environment they are in. This influences their willingness to act, i.e. how strongly they are committed to climate protection and against the climate crisis. A change in these aspects - e.g. through campaigns - can lead to a change in the willingness to act. It is also possible to investigate which socio-demographic groups have a low willingness to act. To this end, the research team led by Cornelia Betsch, Professor of Health Communication at the University of Erfurt, conducts online surveys among 1,000 adults at regular intervals to investigate the knowledge, risk perception, trust, attitudes and behaviour of the German population regarding the climate crisis.

"With our online surveys, we want to contribute to a better understanding of which factors influence people in terms of their climate protection-relevant attitudes and behaviour," explains the research team. "The results, which we publish once a month, will eventually be used to derive proposals for action and concrete measures that will increase willingness to take action against climate change."