NostaClimate- The relevance of non-state actors for individual climate protection activities and climate policy

Start of Project 11/2018
End of Project 07/2022

National laws and regulations introduced by state actors are unlikely to be sufficient to meet the emission targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Voluntary climate activities by non-state and individual actors can help to close this gap. While previous studies have focused on the role of state and individual actors, NostaClimate explicitly analyzes the role of non-state actors and their interactions with state and individual actors with respect to climate protection activities and climate policy. We focus mainly on municipalites, churches and employers as nons-state actors. NostaClimate also examines how the COVID-19 pandemic, which brings additional health risk but also great financial uncertainty to everyday life, influences individual climate protection acitivites and individual support of climate policy.

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Update on the project´s process

Project status

While the COVID-19 pandemic made it verry difficult to carry out the experiments and surveys, the data collection is now completed for all but one working package. In the upcoming months the last experiment will be conducted and all the data will be analyszed in detail. 

Central results

The first evaluations of the experiments and surveys show that municipalities and churches can influence individual climate protection behavior through various channels. For example, initial analyses of the municipal survey show that municipalities see themselves in the role of role models in climate protection and are in exchange with civil society and other municipalities. Interaction with higher levels of government is rather limited, according to the survey. Experimental results show that the influence of municipalities via their role model function is rather weak, , whereas the behavior of other citizens has a stronger influence on individual climate protection behavior. In comparison, an experiment with churches as non-state actors shows that individual climate protection behavior can be strengthened by information on the Catholic Church's position on climate protection. 

Empirical analysis of the influence of the Corona crisis on indivdiual attitudes toward climate policy indicate that support for climate policy measures (at least in the 1st wave of the pandemic) did not change much. However, the analyses also indicate that economic concerns, such as individual worries about their personal economic situation, may lead to significantly less support for individual climate policy measures, such as an increase in the CO2 price.


Alsheimer, Sven, Elisabeth Dütschke, and Heike Brugger (2021), German municipalities as pathmakers for a sustainable future: leaders or followers?, Eceee Summer Study Proceedings, forthcoming.

Bartels, Lara and Martin Kesternich (2021), Do municipal climate protection activities interfere with individual engagement? (working title)

Bos, Björn und Claudia Schwirplies (2021), Do consumption choices spill over to other domains? Evidence from an online retailer (Arbeitstitel)

Engler, Daniel, Elke D. Groh, Gunnar Gutsche and Andreas Ziegler (2021), Acceptance of climate-oriented policy measures under the COVID-19 crisis: an empirical analysis for Germany, Climate Policy, forthcoming.

Feldhaus, Christoph, Marvin Gleue, and Andreas Löschel (2021), Can Religious Institutions Promote Sustainable Behavior – Field Experimental Evidence on Donations for Climate Protection (working title)