Environmental awareness in Germany 2020

Young people fight for climate change (© DisobeyArt / stock.adobe.com)

Every two years, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the German Environment Agency conduct a study on environmental awareness and environmental behaviour in Germany. In addition to investigating prevalent societal patterns of attitude and action, expectations of different population groups regarding environmental policy and their acceptance of the respective policy measures are determined. The Environmental Awareness Study 2020 is focusing on the topic of climate change and climate protection in times of social polarisation.

Research approach

In a qualitative preliminary study, the ISOE team investigates societal perceptions and attitudes towards climate change and climate protection. Different aspects of this topic are discussed within four focus groups. These groups consist of a broad spectrum of participants ranging from committed climate protectors to citizens with a sceptical attitude towards climate protection. The obtained results serve as a basis for elaborating questions regarding the focal topic within the main survey of the Environmental Awareness Study 2020.

The study is based on a nationwide representative survey with 2,000 respondents, in which environment-related patterns of attitude and action are determined and broken down according to socio-structural and socio-cultural variables. In the questionnaire, both existing items from previous environmental awareness studies as well as new items on the focal topic are used. This survey is carried out by the project partner infas. Follow-up surveys are planned to further investigate questions on the focal topic. The research project is monitored by a scientific advisory board.


The Environmental Awareness Study has been conducted every two years since 1996 to investigate environmental awareness, attitudes towards environmental and climate protection and environmentally relevant behaviour in Germany. The panel design makes it possible to assess how the environmental awareness of the German population has developed over the years. 
The survey is carried out on behalf of the German Environment Agency. The insights gained into the attitudes and interests of citizens with regard to climate and environmental policy issues and measures form an important basis for environmental policy communication. 


Belz, Janina/Robert Follmer/Jana Hölscher/Immanuel Stieß/Georg Sunderer (2022): Umweltbewusstsein in Deutschland 2020. Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Bevölkerungsumfrage. Berlin/Dessau-Roßlau: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, nukleare Sicherheit und Verbraucherschutz BMUV/Umweltbundesamt UBA

Fischer, Corinna (2022): Transformative Umweltpolitik wagen - gesellschaftliche Unterstützung mobilisieren. Empfehlungen aus der repräsentativen Studie „Umweltbewusstsein in Deutschland 2020". In: Umweltbundesamt (Hg.): Dessau-Roßlau

Stieß, Immanuel/Georg Sunderer/Luca Raschewski/Melina Stein/Konrad Götz/Janina Belz/Robert Follmer/Jana Hölscher/Barbara Birzle-Harder (2022): Repräsentativumfrage zum Umweltbewusstsein und Umweltverhalten im Jahr 2020. Klimaschutz und sozial-ökologische Transformation. UBA-Texte, 10. Dessau-Roßlau

Research and project partners

  • infas - Institute for Applied Social Science
  • Öko Institut e.V. – Institute for Applied Ecology  
  • macondo publishing GmbH 
  • Leuphana University of Lüneburg


The project Environmental Awareness Study 2020 is a commission of the German Environment Agency.


2019/12 – 2021/12