Popular attitudes to climate change in the Pacific: the case of Samoa

Julien Barbara, Christopher Mudaliar, Michael Leach, Patila Amosa, Susana Tauaa, Taema Imo

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    Understanding popular attitudes to climate change can be important in developing effective climate adaptation responses. However, in the Pacific region, which is at the forefront of impacts of a changing climate, little attention has been given to popular perceptions of climate change. This paper presents the findings of a climate change module in the first Pacific Attitudes Survey (PAS), conducted in Samoa from December 2020 to January 2021. Drawing on a nationally representative sample of Samoans of voting age (n = 1319), the PAS gauges the views of ordinary Samoans towards climate change, including perceptions of the urgency of climate change action, perceptions of the effects of climate change in Samoa, and of individual or institutional capacity to act on climate change. Findings reveal that while most respondents believe that climate change was an urgent problem that needs to be addressed, a significant minority thought it will “never be necessary” to address climate change. This study also found level of education to be a significant factor in climate beliefs. Respondents who had higher education levels were more likely to rate climate change as an urgent problem. Those identifying climate change as an urgent problem that needs to be addressed were significantly more likely to agree that climate change was affecting Samoa in general and their own personal lives. We also found a significant association between perceptions that climate change was an “urgent problem that needs to be addressed”, and willingness to permanently migrate for work.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRegional Environmental Change
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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