Climate change scepticism and public support for mitigation: Evidence from an Australian choice experiment

Sonia Akter, Jeff Bennett, Michael Ward

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Public scepticism surrounding climate change is an obstacle for implementing climate change mitigation measures in many countries. However, very little is known about: (1) the nature and sources of climate change scepticism; and (2) its influence on preferences for climate change mitigation policies. In this paper, we investigate these two issues using evidence and analysis from an Australian public survey and choice experiment. The study has three key findings. First, the intensity of scepticism varies depending on its type; we observed little scepticism over the cause, trend and impact of climate change and widespread scepticism over the effectiveness of mitigation measures and global co-operation. Second, cause and mitigation scepticism play significant roles in determining public support for climate change abatement. Respondents who believed in human-induced climate change were significantly more supportive of mitigation. Likewise, respondents who believed that mitigation would be successful in slowing down climate change were significantly more likely to be supportive. Third, the general public tend to give the benefit of the doubt to supporting mitigation. Those who expressed higher uncertainty about climate outcomes were more supportive of mitigation than others with similar expectations but lower uncertainty.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)736-745
    JournalGlobal Environmental Change - Human and Policy Dimensions
    Volume22
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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