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Title: Public engagement with climate change in light of a more balanced policy focus on adaptation and mitigation
Author: Sposato, Robert Gennaro
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 8536
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Against the backdrop of the historically dominant positioning of mitigation the international policy discourse on climate change is increasingly highlighting adaptation as an equally important response to climate change. This stronger attention to adaptation has not yet been adequately reflected in research on public perceptions of climate change. The present thesis aims to address this shortcoming. First, the relationship between public perceptions of adaptation and mitigation is examined, showing that intention to perform and support for both response types are overall positively connected but that their relative predictor patterns differ. Particularly noteworthy is the finding that individual intention to adapt is not necessarily reliant on belief in climate change. Differences are then explored in more depth testing whether an adaptation or mitigation frame affects the public�s overall engagement with climate change. When climate change is presented as a local issue the adaptation frame leads to more emotional engagement in right-leaning participants, while the mitigation frame decreases it. This effect is inversed for left-leaning individuals. Exploring the role of personal experience in more detail the thesis finally presents an analysis of the effect of the 2013/14 winter flooding on individual engagement. Findings indicate that experiencing flooding is strongly associated with flood adaptation intentions but not connected to mitigation intentions. Whether individuals attribute the flooding to climate change does not contribute to explain their engagement with climate change. The results are discussed arguing that a stronger focus on adaptation holds the potential to mobilise previously uninvolved audiences. If framed in the wrong way, however, it might also increase polarization. Transformative adaptation is highlighted as a potential mediator to avoid this latter scenario. This thesis concludes that more research in this line is needed to successfully exploit the current policy transition in order to comprehensively, adequately and sustainably address climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology