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Public understanding of, and attitudes to, climate change: UK and international perspectives and policy

Pidgeon, Nicholas Frank 2012. Public understanding of, and attitudes to, climate change: UK and international perspectives and policy. Climate Policy 12 (S1) , S85-S106. 10.1080/14693062.2012.702982

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Abstract

Although levels of concern and awareness about climate change have been rising in many nations over the past 20 years, climate change remains of low importance relative to other global or personal issues. Powerful contextual barriers act to prevent public engagement with it, such as psychological distancing and externalized responsibility. Despite extensive media coverage of the issue since 2006 there was a gradual decrease in public concern between 2006 and 2010. Possible explanations are issue fatigue, the impact of the global financial crisis, distrust, and the deepening politicization of the issue. Risk and uncertainty will become part of the debate about climate change policy in the future. Although engaging both the public and decision makers needs to draw upon the best guidance already developed in communicating risk, it is also likely that a radical reframing of the terms of public debate and new approaches to ‘risk communication’ will be needed. The most significant risk to achieving ambitious climate mitigation and adaptation goals appears to be the ‘governance trap’ engendered by current national and international systems of governance, such that the public and governments each seek to attribute responsibility for instigating change to the other.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, climate policy options, public perception, risk communication
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1469-3062
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2013 10:55
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/46777

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