to Pretest Database Pretest Database
Project Title:Project “Complexity and intrinsic motivation in climate protection” (English Version)
  1. General Information: Question: Control Treatment 2 [incl. time dimension]

    *Note: The item was tested in German. This is an English translation of the original German wording.*
  2. Introduction
    (Findings/Recommendations): The European Union (EU) wants to reduce emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2) quickly and significantly and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. In order to effectively control the emission of these pollutants, large power plants and industrial facilities must acquire and surrender a so-called emission right for each ton of green-house gas emitted. The quantity of these emission rights issued by the EU is strictly limited. At the beginning of February 2021, an emission right cost around EUR 42 (incl. VAT) per ton of CO2. Through consumption, electricity use, heating and mobility, each German causes an average of eight tons of CO2 per year.
    If you buy an emission right and decommission it, it is no longer available to the power plants. The power plants can therefore emit one ton of CO2 less. This effectively reduces overall emissions in the EU and makes an active contribution to climate protection.
    [Die Europäische Union (EU) möchte den Ausstoß von klimaschädlichen Treibhausgasen (z. B. CO2) schnell und deutlich reduzieren und bis 2050 klimaneutral sein. Um den Ausstoß dieser Schadstoffe wirksam zu kontrollieren, müssen große Kraftwerke und Industrieanlagen für jede ausgestoßene Tonne Treibhausgas ein sogenanntes Emissionsrecht erwerben und abgeben. Die von der EU ausgegebene Menge dieser Emissionsrechte ist strikt begrenzt. Ein Emissionsrecht kostete Anfang Februar 2021 etwa 42 EUR (inkl. MwSt.) pro Tonne CO2. Durch Konsum, Stromverbrauch, Heizen und Mobilität verursacht jede/r Deutsche im Durchschnitt acht Tonnen CO2 pro Jahr.
    Kauft man ein Emissionsrecht und legt es still, so steht es den Kraftwerken nicht mehr zur Verfügung. Die Kraftwerke können somit eine Tonne CO2 weniger ausstoßen. Man senkt damit wirksam die Gesamtemissionen in der EU und leistet einen aktiven Beitrag zum Klimaschutz.]
  3. Question Text: You now have the opportunity to decommission an emission right that entitles you to emit one ton of CO2. The costs for the procurement and decommissioning of the emission right are borne by the client of the study. You can choose to decommission the emission right now or in one year's time, or you can choose to receive 5 EUR instead.
    How do you decide?
    [Sie haben jetzt die Gelegenheit ein Emissionsrecht, das zum Ausstoß einer Tonne CO2 berechtigt, stillzulegen. Die Kosten für die Beschaffung und Stilllegung des Emissionsrechts trägt der Auftraggeber der Studie. Sie können wählen, ob Sie das Emissionsrecht jetzt oder erst in einem Jahr stilllegen oder ob Sie stattdessen 5 EUR erhalten möchten.
    Wie entscheiden Sie sich?]
  4. Answer Categories Decommission the emission right now [Das Emissionsrecht jetzt stilllegen]

    Decommission the emission right in one year’s time [Das Emissionsrecht in einem Jahr stilllegen]

    Receive 5 EUR [5 EUR erhalten]

    don’t know/not specified [weiß nicht/keine Angabe]

    1. Recommendations: Question: Some test persons felt the need to read the explanations again while reading the question text, but only one test person went back to the introduction page to do so. Therefore, we recommend including a clearly visible information button on the question page that can be used to display the explanations.

      “Today, we offer to purchase an emission right for you, which entitles you to emit one ton of CO2. The costs for the procurement of the emission right are borne by us as the client of the study. You can choose whether you want to decommission the emission right now or whether you want to receive 5 EUR instead.
      If you decide to decommission the emission right right now, the industry will have to emit one ton of CO2 less from now on than before.
      If you choose to receive 5 EUR, it will be credited to your account via [survey company].”
      [„Wir bieten Ihnen heute an, für Sie ein Emissionsrecht, das zum Ausstoß einer Tonne CO2 berechtigt, zu kaufen. Die Kosten für die Beschaffung des Emissionsrechts tragen wir als Auftraggeber der Studie. Sie können wählen, ob Sie das Emissionsrecht jetzt stilllegen oder ob Sie stattdessen 5 EUR erhalten möchten.
      Wenn Sie sich dafür entscheiden, das Emissionsrecht jetzt stillzulegen, muss die Industrie ab sofort eine Tonne CO2 weniger ausstoßen als vorher.
      Wenn Sie sich dafür entscheiden, 5 EUR zu erhalten, werden Ihnen diese über [Umfrageunternehmen] auf Ihrem Konto gutgeschrieben.“]

      Answer format: The answer choices should be explained in the question text or in an instruction below, as described above, to prevent confusion about the combination of answer options.
      A good half of the respondents chose the answer "don't know/not specified" in the pretest, although this was for different reasons. In order to be able to distinguish between different triggers for refusing to answer in the survey, we recommend asking respondents who choose "don't know/not specified" a question. A combination of closed answer options and the open text field facilitates the evaluation of such a demand and offers respondents who would like to comment on the content of the topic or their decision the opportunity to do so.

      This could look like this:
      “You answered the previous question with ‘don't know/not specified’. Why did you choose this answer?
      • I did not understand the question or the explanations about emission right
      • I did not want to select any of the other answer choices
      • I am not interested in the subject
      • Other (Please explain in the text field below)
      • [open text field]”
      [Sie haben die vorangegangene Frage mit ‚weiß nicht/keine Angabe‘ beantwortet. Wieso haben Sie sich für diese Antwort entschieden?
      • Ich habe die Frage bzw. die Erläuterungen zu Emissionsrecht nicht verstanden
      • Ich wollte keine der anderen Antwortmöglichkeiten auswählen
      • Ich interessiere mich nicht für das Thema
      • Anderes (Bitte im untenstehenden Textfeld erläutern)
      • [offenes Textfeld]“]
      The list of reasons can be extended as needed.
  1. Cognitive Techniques:Information image/link to cognitive pretesting Introductory text: General Probing, Difficulty Probing, Paraphrasing, Specific Probing
    Question: General Probing, Comprehension Probing, Category Selection Probing, Difficulty Probing, Specific Probing
  2. Findings for Question: After reading the introductory text for the first time, the test persons first saw and answered the first version of the question (Control Treatment 1), followed by follow-up questions from the interviewer. Subsequently, they were shown the second version of the question (Control Treatment 2) and answered follow-up questions about it.

    Control Treatment 2: Do test persons answer the second version of the question differently than the first, and if so, why?

    Three of the six test persons stuck to their previous answer. Two of them decided in both question versions to decommission the emission right immediately (TP 01, 03). One test person stated that it would be of no benefit to the environment to wait a year before decommissioning and would therefore like to continue to decommission the emission right immediately (TP 01). The second test person also stuck to her answer of decommissioning the emission right immediately, but was unsettled by the additional answer option:
    • “I'm still taking the 'decommission the emission right now' option, but the decision is not so easy anymore because it's not quite clear to me what the impact will be if I decommission this in a year's time.” (TP 03)
    The third test person answered both question versions with “don't know/not specified” (TP 05), as she had been dissatisfied with the available answer options in both question versions.

    The other three persons answered the second version of the question differently from the first and changed their answer to the additional answer option "Decommission the emission right in one year’s time". Of these, two test persons had answered "don't know/not specified" in the first version (TP 02, 06) and one had answered "decommission the emission right now" (TP 04). In two cases, the test persons justified this by stating that they were more comfortable with the lead time in order to obtain information (TP 02) or to prepare the decommissioning of the emission right (TP 04). In the third case, the test person did not seem to have read the first version of the question correctly (TP 06):
    • “I would then take the one in a year's time, so that in the meantime you can get more information. What is meant by that, what that means.” (TP 02).
    • “This whole process requires a certain amount of preparation time. The purchaser who buys the emission right must also first look at how he will then proceed.” (TP 04)
    • “The question was easier to answer now. I don't know if the question was asked differently, but now it says that the emission right to emit one ton of CO2 is entitled to decommissioning. I'm not sure if it said that before, because that helped me a little bit to choose my answer.” (TP 06)
    Control Treatment 2: How do test persons understand the additional answer option "De-commission the emission right in a year’s time" in the second version of the question?

    Most test persons speculated that the additional response option was intended as a time delay, e.g., to inform themselves, or for industry and policymakers to prepare for decommissioning. They imagined that decommission the emission right one year later would be easier to implement, or that during this year it could be renegotiated whether the emission right should be decommissioned at all:
    • “So that you can then check again what it means, what is being decommissioned, what the industry is doing. All the things that are hanging on the back of it. It all takes time, you can't even decide that now.” (TP 02)
    • “The most I can think of is that then the companies have time to adjust, maybe if it's not one ton, but several tons, as in real life. In the real world, of course, it's better to decommission it immediately, but I [can't judge] how realistic that is.” (TP 03)
    • “From my point of view, you simply need preparations to tackle other ways so that there is no gap in supply. The question is, what happens afterwards if I decommission it immediately? So I would say, after a year, there is a possibility that the whole thing will go down reasonably and alternatives will be there.” (TP 04)
    • “That this right may be negotiated again and certain things, basic framework conditions are dis-cussed again. That's why I opted for 'decommission in a year’s time'. [...] There is an emissions trading agreement in the EU, as far as I remember correctly, where they discuss everything. [...] That certain things are discussed again, for example: ‘Hey, maybe only in one year and then half. The factories have a certain emission output and therefore only in a year's time.’” (TP 06)
    After reading the second version of the question, the test persons were asked whether they thought it would be better for the environment if the emission right was decommissioned immediately or only in a year's time. This question confirmed that none of the test persons had any knowledge of the fact that it could be advantageous for climate protection reasons to decommission the emission right only one year later, regardless of whether the test persons assessed their knowledge about climate protection in general as "very good" (TP 04), "rather good" (TP 01, 05), "average" (TP 03, 06) or "rather poor" (TP 02).

    Five test persons indicated that it would clearly be better to decommission the emission right immediately. One test person did not want to commit herself because she was unsure whether immediate decommissioning might not result in a supply gap and whether decommissioning the emission right with a lead time might be more reasonable (TP 04). After reading the introductory page a second time, the test person also came to the conclusion that immediate decommissioning was in the interest of climate protection.

    Do test persons find it easier to understand Control Treatment 1 or 2?

    Three test persons found Control Treatment 2, including the time dimension, easier to answer than the first version. One test person reasoned that the additional option of giving industry another year reinforced her decision to have the emission right decommissioned immediately ("It's definitely easy, but I think [the second version] is better because you can make more decisions. If I had a year now to decommission the [emission right] and give industry more opportunities to emit CO2, I think the answer of decommissioning the [emission right] immediately is better." , TP 01). However, another test person found the second version easier only because she had not read the first version completely (TP 06).

    Two test persons found Control Treatment 1, i.e., without the time dimension, easier to answer because they had to think more in Control Treatment 2 (TP 04) or because they were confused by the additional answer option whose meaning was not explained (TP 03). One test person found both versions equally good (TP 05).
  1. Question Topic: Environment/ Climate protection
  2. Construct: Decommissioning an emission right: inclusive time dimension