Hand in Hand: Public Endorsement of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation


This research investigated how an individual’s endorsements of mitigation and adaptation relate to each other, and how well each of these can be accounted for by relevant social psychological factors. Based on survey data from two European convenience samples (N = 616 / 309) we found that public endorsements of mitigation and adaptation are strongly associated: Someone who is willing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) is also willing to prepare for climate change impacts (adaptation). Moreover, people endorsed the two response strategies for similar reasons: People who believe that climate change is real and dangerous, who have positive attitudes about protecting the environment and the climate, and who perceive climate change as a risk, are willing to respond to climate change. Furthermore, distinguishing between (spatially) proximal and distant risk perceptions suggested that the idea of portraying climate change as a proximal (i.e., local) threat might indeed be effective in promoting personal actions. However, to gain endorsement of broader societal initiatives such as policy support, it seems advisable to turn to the distant risks of climate change. The notion that ``localising'' climate change might not be the panacea for engaging people in this domain is discussed in regard to previous theory and research.