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Is public awareness and perceived threat of climate change associated with governmental mitigation targets?

Drummond, A, Hall, LC, Sauer, JD ORCID: 0000-0002-0872-3647 and Palmer, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-3467-3364 2018 , 'Is public awareness and perceived threat of climate change associated with governmental mitigation targets?' , Climatic Change, vol. 149, no. 2 , 159–171 , doi: 10.1007/s10584-018-2230-2.

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Abstract

Social scientists and science communicators are concerned about the apparent discrepancybetween the scientific consensus on climate change (Anderegg et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci107:12107–12109, 2010; Doran and Zimmerman EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 90:22–3,2009) and the general public’s views (Knight Environ Sociol 2:101–113, 2016; Lee et al. NatClim Chang 5:1014–1020, 2015). It is reasoned that increased public awareness and perceivedthreat of climate change may pressure governments to enact policy to counteract climate change(e.g. setting stringent carbon emissions targets). Despite a logical link between public awarenessand government-set emissions targets, this relationship remains untested. We examined therelationship between public awareness about and perceived threat of climate change and governmentalemissions targets across 71 countries and 1 region. We found a positive associationbetween the proportions of a country’s population that are aware of climate change and theunconditional emissions reduction targets set by that country in the Paris Agreement (Rogelj et al.Nature 534:631–639, 2016). However, the proportion of people in a country who perceiveclimate change as a personal threat was not associated with higher emissions reduction targets.Our results suggest that public awareness may be an important part of garnering the publicsupport required for policies designed to mitigate climate change to succeed.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Drummond, A and Hall, LC and Sauer, JD and Palmer, MA
Keywords: climate science, public policy
Journal or Publication Title: Climatic Change
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
ISSN: 0165-0009
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s10584-018-2230-2
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature

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