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Individual adaptation to climate change: The role of information and perceived risk

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  • Osberghaus, Daniel
  • Finkel, Elyssa
  • Pohl, Max

Abstract

Given that many of the predicted effects of climate change are considered imminent and unavoidable, the need to mainstream adaptation as a viable coping measure among private households is becoming a topic of increasing importance. However, little research to date has assessed the factors influencing the motivation to autonomously adapt, nor any successful measures for instigating this behavioural change. This study investigates whether providing locally-focused vs. globally-focused information about the effects of climate change influences the personal perceived risk (PPR) of individual people. Based on a socio-psychological model, Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), it is hypothesized that a higher PPR will lead to a higher motivation to adapt. While this hypothesis has been empirically confirmed by the study, it has been found that providing information on climate change effects that is more personally relevant to the individual and is concerned with his local surroundings does not significantly increase PPR. This may be due to a trade-off between spatial-temporal distance and the comparably low severity of predicted effects in the study region. Interestingly, providing any kind of information, irrespective of having a global or local focus, also did not increase PPR as compared to receiving no information. These results suggest that the sole provision of information about expected climate change impacts, even if tailored to one's individual context, does not significantly increase PPR and consequently the motivation to adapt. Another necessary factor might be increasing the knowledge about concrete coping options to allow people to weigh up their personal options. --

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 10-061.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10061

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Menny, Claas & Osberghaus, Daniel & Pohl, Max & Werner, Ute, 2011. "General knowledge about climate change, factors influencing risk perception and willingness to insure," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-060, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Hoa Dang & Elton Li & Ian Nuberg & Johan Bruwer, 2014. "Farmers’ assessments of private adaptive measures to climate change and influential factors: a study in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 71(1), pages 385-401, March.
  3. repec:mar:magkse:20134 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2013. "Are German Tourists Environmental Chameleons? A Micro-econometric Analysis of Adaptation to Climate Change," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201334, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  5. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Fundamental questions on the economics of climate adaptation: Outlines of a new research programme," UFZ Reports 05/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
  6. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Ökonomische Grundfragen der Klimaanpassung: Umrisse eines neuen Forschungsprogramms," UFZ Reports 02/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).

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