Assessment from various perspectives
One important finding from the study is that people do not always assess energy-policy measures the same. This is because they assume a dual role in society, performing the roles of both consumers and citizens.
Those who view energy-policy measures from the perspective of a consumer take account of their own experience: they consider how these measures will impact various areas of their lives, how they will influence their own quality of life and what the effect will be as regards the resources available to them. Looking at things from a citizen’s viewpoint, in contrast, an individual’s thoughts are dominated by how energy-policy measures will adversely impact the wellbeing of others, whether the measures are fair and how effectively the surrounding nature will be protected in this context. As citizens, people thus do not primarily think about themselves.
This was the conclusion drawn by the researchers after 48 interviews. In order to form an understanding of the consumer perspective, the interviewees created a so-called futures wheel in connection with an energy-policy measure. This is a kind of mind map for determining direct and indirect consequences of future decisions and measures.
In the second part of the interview, the citizen perspective was explored. To this end, those questioned participated in a fictitious ballot on the measure for which they had previously created a futures wheel. For example, they were asked whether they would agree to a CHF 0.05 increase per litre in the price of petrol. They then had to justify their decision.
A marked increase in petrol prices is one of three energy-policy measures that were selected for the study on the basis of two group discussions with experts. The others were a significant expansion of public transport and the comprehensive management of parking spaces.