Expected climate change consequences and their role in explaining individual risk judgments.

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This study examines what individuals expect will be the most important impacts of climate change on their respective countries, and how these expectations relate to individual risk judgments. Open-ended responses from representative samples in four European countries (each n > 1000), were sorted into six categories: expectations of climate change leading to changes in attitudes and goals, human activities, emissions and pollution, environmental changes, impacts on humans, or few or no impacts. The results showed that the most frequently mentioned climate change impacts were related to environmental changes. Although most results were consistent across the UK, Norway, Germany, and France, some differences were identified. For example, respondents in the UK and Norway more frequently mentioned changes in human actions and activities among the most important climate change impacts. We also found differences between demographic groups; men, those in the oldest age groups, and those placing themselves further right on the political spectrum were more likely to expect few or no consequences of climate change on their country. Additional analyses examined relationships between the six impact categories and two different measures of individual risk judgments. Those expecting climate change to lead to changes in attitudes and goals, environmental changes, or impacts on humans reported higher levels of worry about climate change and expected more negative effects on their country. Climate change worry, but not the evaluation of how positive or negative effects will be on one’s country, was further related to the number of consequences mentioned in response to the open-ended question and the specificity conveyed.
Translated title of the contributionErwartete Folgen des Klimawandels und ihre Rolle bei der Erklärung individueller Risikoeinschätzungen.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281258
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 15.02.2023

Bibliographical note

EPCC was funded by the JPI-Programme and associated grants from Cardiff University Sustainable Places Research Institute, School of Psychology and the Economic & Social Research Council, ESRC [grant number ES/M009505/1]. It was co-funded by France’s Agence Nationale de la Recherche [grant number ANR-14-JCLI-0003] and by Institut Symlog de France; under the KLIMAFORSK programme of the Norwegian Research Council [NFR; project number 244904], under the cooperation agreement between Statoil and the University of Bergen [Akademiaavtale; project number 803589], and by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research [grant number 01UV1403]. The fieldwork was outsourced and administered by the social research company Ipsos Mori. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We want to thank Keri Hartman for proofreading the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Gregersen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.