Efficacy Trade-Offs in Individual's Support for Climate Change Policies

August 2012

Using survey data, the authors developed an architecture of climate change beliefs in Norway and their correlation with support for policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A strong majority of respondents believe that anthropogenic climate change is occurring and identify carbon dioxide emissions as a cause. Regression analysis shows that respondents recognize the effectiveness of direct actions that require difficult trade-offs, such as imposing a carbon tax. Yet, their voting intentions suggest a preference for policies that have at best an indirect effect on reducing climate change. Most respondents favor policy options that are generally good for the environment and cause no personal hardship. The disconnection between perceptions about the effectiveness of direct actions and support for less effective mitigation approaches may reflect the respondents’ collective distancing from the problem of climate change. This could be an important consideration in the design of communication strategies that promote emission abatement policies.

Rosentrater, Lynn, Ingrid Sælensminde, Frida Ekström, Gisela Böhm, Ann Bostrom, Daniel Hanss and Robert E. O’Connor (2012): ’ Efficacy Trade-Offs in Individuals’ Support for Climate Change Policies’. Environment & Behavior.  Published online before print July 17, 2012, doi:10.1177/0013916512450510