Our Work

Green Wedge? Mapping Dissent Against Climate Policy in Europe

The European Green Deal (EGD) is at the heart of Europe’s recovery from the Covid19 pandemic: the EGD will need to help restart the economy, address a looming climate catastrophe and address deep inequalities (that will have been worsened by the crisis). Could the rolling out of the EGD result in more polarisation in Europe—one in which divisions between North and South, or East and West, rural and urban assert themselves yet again? Or will political and civil society leaders be able to secure democratic consent for the policies of the EGD? And if so, how? Where will consent come from? And what will dissent look like?

These are the questions we are exploring both qualitatively and quantitatively over the next 18 months through our work with our partner the Open Society European Policy Institute, a part of the Open Society Foundations. This research is part of the Bridges Project, a long-term collaboration between Counterpoint and OSEPI. Bridges explores the hidden drivers of key policy dilemmas and brings vital insights from research across many disciplines to the attention of European policymakers and politicians.

Green Wedge: The report

Find out more in our report, published in March 2021.

This report is a first step towards mapping the climate conversation in Europe. The aim is to get 
a better sense of the various communities and groups that will support the European Green Deal (EGD), as well as understand the types of dissent and counter-mobilisation that will inevitably arise and risk derailing the implementation of the EGD’s main policy objectives.

We were prompted to initiate this investigation against the backdrop of somewhat complacent assumptions (comforted by a number of surveys) about a large consensus across European publics regarding the climate emergency and the need to address it – especially in the aftermath of the first wave of Covid, which seems to have triggered an increased awareness of the climate emergency and fuel a desire to ‘build back better’. Our concern was that climate policy might instead become the latest populist rallying cry (potentially replacing immigration and migration as a wedge issue).

To evaluate the mobilisation potential of detractors we decided to track the online conversation around the EGD, and more broadly around climate policy in eight European countries. Our findings should give policy-makers pause for thought. Read more here.


The Green Wedge Essays: Climate Views in Context

This collection is a companion piece to our Green Wedge report. These essays were commissioned to contextualise our research on the nature and content of social media conversations about climate in eight European countries: Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Spain and Czech Republic.

But the collection is so much more than that – these essays can easily stand alone in their quality and insights. They reveal the crucial, deeply idiosyncratic and wonderfully subtle cultural, historical and social frameworks within which climate conversations, environmental debates and mobilisation are occurring across Europe. They reveal what we at Counterpoint call ‘the hidden wiring of societies.’ Above all, they give us some clues as to what climate policy-makers need to know in order to act effectively and with agility in very different contexts.

Green Wedge Conversations:
Does this change everything? Climate & New European Ideological Landscape

This event was inspired by our report, published in May 2021.

Addressing climate change implies a revolutionary transformation of our societies and economies: the result is a reshaping of Europe’s ideological and partisan landscape. Our recent report highlights how these transformations are impacting parties, rhetoric and policy across Europe, East and West. New forms of authoritarianism, the repurposing of traditional political concepts, the blurring of party lines and the rise of a new generational politics are only a few of the issues we will touch upon with our world-class speakers.

The event was on Monday 21 June, 10:00 – 11:30 (London) / 11:00-12:30 CET (Paris).
Please find the full video here.

The Green Wedge Tracker

The Green Wedge Tracker gives you a monthly overview of the social media climate conversation in 8 European countries.

Focusing on EDG discussions as well as national discussions, we track the most popular hashtags, memes and key Twitter events, as well as giving you an overview of the conversation in numbers and of any major arguments.

More about the project

Find out more about the project here.


Our Work
Green Wedge? Mapping Dissent Against Climate Policy in Europe

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