How Belief in Climate Change Affects Legislation and Personal Sacrifice

by Patrick Quarberg

Surveys from New Zealand have indicated that climate change skepticism is on the rise. Comparing surveys from the early 2000s and the 2010s. Chris G. Sibley and Tim Kurz (2013) have found that there is an increasing proportion of people attributing climate change to natural causes, or denying its existence altogether. This information alone is surprising and alarming, as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident and the need to address climate change is growing. This is why Sibley and Kurz investigated the effect of increasing skepticism on voting habits and willingness to reduce personal consumption. Climate change deniers were identified through a forced-question survey and defined as people who attributed climate change to natural causes or who refused to accept its existence. Then, they tried to establish a correlation between these traits and support for climate-related legislation as well as personal efforts to reduce impact on the environment. Continue reading

Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate Change

by Sam Peterson

A serious increase in the rate of climate change began almost two centuries ago with the inception of fossil fuel combustion, and global warming became a focal point in media coverage more than twenty years ago, yet no industrialized or developing nation has sufficiently reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), or adequately educated its populace to the dangers of rapidly fluctuating global temperatures. Norgaard examines worldwide response, or lack thereof, to climate change in a Development Economics background paper for the 2010 World Development Report for the World Bank and finds that citizens generally do care about climate change, but a systemic and systematic psychological routine of denial and widespread misinformation hinder the public response. Continue reading