Academic journal article Agricultural Economics Review

An Econometric Analysis of Determinants of Climate Change Attitudes and Behaviour in Greece and Great Britain

Academic journal article Agricultural Economics Review

An Econometric Analysis of Determinants of Climate Change Attitudes and Behaviour in Greece and Great Britain

Article excerpt


This study examines the impact of some main determinants of environmental behaviour, a priori identified in the scientific literature, on the Greek and British citizens' perceptions about environmental protection and their actions to fight climate change. The study used Eurobarometer data and logistic regression and identified factors significantly influencing environmental perceptions and behaviour common in both countries. Perceptions of EU climate change policy and education significantly influence environmental perceptions of both Greek and British citizens. Access to information is the strongest determinant of environmental behaviour in both countries, followed by age, gender and occupation/purchasing power, and environmental attitudes and perceptions.

Keywords: climate change, citizen behaviour, behavioural determinants, Greece, Great Britain.

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1. Introduction

During the past decades, there has been a lot of scepticism and uncertainty about climate change as a phenomenon, about its causes and potential magnitude of its effects within the scientific community and, as a consequence, among the policy makers and the general public. Only as from the last few years there has been a growing scientific consensus that climate change is a reality and that many human activities contribute to it in a negative way (Whitmarsh L., 2011; Doran and Zimmeman, 2009; Poortinga et al., 2011). According to the IPCC (2007), climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean or the variability of its properties, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural variability (internal processes or external forcing), or to human activities (anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land-use). Rapid or abrupt climate change can be identified as a change resulting when the climate system is forced to a new state at rates faster than their known or suspected cause (through instabilities, threshold crossings and other types of nonlinear behaviour of the global climate system) (Holmes J. et al., 2011; Rahmstorf, 2003; Rial, 2004; Jousel et al., 1994; Clark et al., 1999). The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling: sea-level rise; global temperature rise; warming of oceans; shrinking ice sheets; declining Arctic sea ice; glacial retreat; ocean acidification (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007; Fussel, 2009; VijayaVenkataRaman et al., 2012).

Policy makers and natural and social scientists have been increasingly looking into the multitude of factors responsible for the degradation of the environment and climate change, many of which being related to human activities. Subsequently, media and various other ways of communication have been used to convey findings to the general public in an attempt to influence their attitudes and potentially induce behavioural change. Currently, citizens in all European Union member countries and in many other parts of the world have been increasingly involved in a 'citizens' agenda' to fight environmental degradation and more specifically climate change. Fundamental studies into the ways in which people (without specialist knowledge) perceive climate change indicate that the plurality of the public is able to recognise some of the main causes of climate change. However, the amount of knowledge about the subject varies and, in general, there appears to be some confusion on the above issues (Bord et al. 1998; Lorenzoni and Langford 2001; DEFRA 2002; Lowe et al. 2005). Lorenzoni et al. (2007) suggest that it is not enough for individuals to be informed about climate change. In order to be truly interested in the issue, the public have to care about it, be encouraged and be able to take action. During the past decades there has been a lot of discussion concerning the role of people in fighting phenomena such as climate change. Several studies have examined the factors that influence and determine the environmental behaviour of people. …

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