Facing the Greenhouse Effect: Communication about Energy in Germany

Henschel, C. & Wiedemann, P. M. (1993). Facing the greenhouse effect: Communication about energy in Germany. Technology in Society, 15, 301-310.

Energy policy in Germany has been characterized by an irreconcilable debate about nuclear power and the potentials of renewable energy sources and energy-saving activities for more than 15 years. The questions is whether the emerging greenhouse effect has changed or at least influenced this conflict. In our study we screened the publications of various stakeholders in the energy debate and investigated their standpoints, values, and attitudes towards energy policy after the emergence of the greenhouse effect. Our study reveals that the focus of the communication is no longer nuclear power. Moreover, communication with the public tries to hide the still virulent conflict among the agents. Every agent argues for the protection of the global climate and environment. But despite this superficial consensus and the "green" arguments, the various agents draw different conclusions. Thus communication not only minimizes clarity, but also fails to produce any consensus on how to realize the ambitious goals of global environmental protection.

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