Climate change perception: Driving forces and their interactions (2020)

Itxaso Ruiz, Sérgio H. Faria, Marc B. Neumann, Climate change perception: Driving forces and their interactions, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 108, 2020

Abstract: Public perception of climate change can either facilitate or hinder the implementation of climate policies. This perception is dependent on a number of influencing factors, called drivers, in ways that are still not clearly understood. Our study quantifies the relative strength of drivers of climate change perception, taking into account differences in the social, political, geographical, economic and educational identities of any considered community. In addition to investigating the direct influence of the main drivers on climate change perception, we particularly examine the interactions among drivers, identifying in this way indirect pathways of influence. We find that perceptions are directly influenced by the share of principles and ideals within a community and by the physical experience of weather change. Indirect influences are found to be related to the level of development of a community, to its level of social interaction (i.e. individualistic vs. communitarian), and to the spread of climate change information. A deeper understanding of interactions among drivers should prove especially useful for the design of effective climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

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