Would You Pay to Reduce Climate Change?

by Abigail Schantz

In the article “Actions and intentions to pay for climate change mitigation: Environmental concern and the role of economic factors,” Christian Dienes (2014) studies the correlation between individuals’ concern for the environment and their willingness to pay or act for change, and how these correlations are affected by financial circumstances. Dienes reviewed previous studies and used one survey to analyze his own results. He took the responses from the Life in Transition Survey (2010) by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. In this survey, which included 35 countries, 37% of respondents expressed intent to pay to reduce climate change and 11% were unsure, but 45% responded that they had the highest concern level (five out of five on the survey) for climate change. This showed a discrepancy between people who are deeply concerned with climate change and those willing to pay for improvements. Dienes took into account other variables such as age and gender in order to minimize bias. Additionally, he looked at how peoples’ responses changed depending on the effect of the financial crisis on their families. The results suggested, first, that those with a high concern for climate change were more likely to pay to reduce it. Second, those greatly affected by the financial crisis were less likely to be willing to pay for climate mitigation. The data also confirmed that those who believe that climate change is being exaggerated are less likely to pay to reduce its effects. Finally, in countries with lower GNI per capita, people were less motivated to reduce climate change because they were more vulnerable to economic downturns and therefore unable to prioritize the climate change issue. Ultimately, the study found a weak correlation between peoples’ concern for climate change and their willingness to pay to reduce it. A much higher correlation was found between people with high concern and willingness to take personal action to reduce its affects.

Dienes, C. 2014. Actions and Intentions to Pay for Climate Change Mitigation: Environmental Concern and the Role of Economic Factors. Elsevier. Volume 109. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.11.012

 

TAGS: Christian Dienes, climate change, paying to ease climate change, financial crisis, Life in Transition, GNI per capita related to climate change, action against climate change

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