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The Population's View on Climate Change and Mitigation—Inferences for Media and Policy

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Abstract:

In Germany, the political and public debate on climate change and mitigation is supposed to be one of the most progressive ones on Earth. However, the population's view on climate change and the actual readiness of taking action, as a key component in climate protection, are still partly unknown. Here, we present results from a survey carried out in two German towns with, from a socio-economic point of view, optimal conditions for a broad acceptance towards the necessity of climate protection measures at political down to individual levels. As a consequence of the fourth IPCC assessment report widely echoed by the media in spring and summer 2007, the German population is clearly sensitized to the climate change issue with almost 80% of the probands assigning observed climate change to a large or even very large extent to human acitivty. However, even under these optimal conditions the climate change problem is ranked clearly behind other societal challenges like fighting against famine, war and diseases. The political and individual options in climate change protection are estimated to be limited. Nonetheless, individual protection measures have already been established, mainly by saving energy in households and by using public transport systems. Correlations between these results and socio-demographic factors like education, family size, age and sex are presented and discussed. These results may help to optimize mitigation policy by tapping the individual potential in climate protection.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/asl.2009.1038

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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