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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Osberghaus, Daniel & Finkel, Elyssa & Pohl, Max, 2010. "Individual Adaptation to Climate Change: The Role of Information and Perceived Risk," MPRA Paper 26569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26569
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    2. 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 - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Antonina Ivanova & Asim Zia & Paiman Ahmad & Mairon Bastos-Lima, 0. "Climate mitigation policies and actions: access and allocation issues," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-15.
    4. Hoa Dang & Elton Li & Johan Bruwer & Ian Nuberg, 2014. "Farmers’ perceptions of climate variability and barriers to adaptation: lessons learned from an exploratory study in Vietnam," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 19(5), pages 531-548, June.
    5. Reeko Watanabe & Tsunemi Watanabe, 2020. "Does Haze Drive Pro-Environmental and Energy Conservation Behaviors? Evidence from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Area in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(23), pages 1, November.
    6. 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).
    7. 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: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 71(1), pages 385-401, March.
    8. repec:mar:magkse:20134 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. The Anh Luu & An Thinh Nguyen & Quoc Anh Trinh & Van Tuan Pham & Ba Bien Le & Duc Thanh Nguyen & Quoc Nam Hoang & Ha T.T. Pham & The Kien Nguyen & Van Nang Luu & Luc Hens, 2019. "Farmers’ Intention to Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture in the Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve (Vietnam): A Combination of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) and Protection Motivation Theory ," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-17, May.
    10. Morena Mills & Konar Mutafoglu & Vanessa M. Adams & Carla Archibald & Justine Bell & Javier X. Leon, 2016. "Perceived and projected flood risk and adaptation in coastal Southeast Queensland, Australia," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 523-537, June.
    11. Regasa Dereje Tesema & Akirso Nega Abera, 2019. "Determinants of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies: An Application of Protection Motivation Theory in Konta District, South Western Ethiopia," European Review of Applied Sociology, Sciendo, vol. 12(19), pages 49-73, December.
    12. Johannes Welling & Þorvarður Árnason & Rannveig Ólafsdóttir, 2020. "Implications of Climate Change on Nature-Based Tourism Demand: A Segmentation Analysis of Glacier Site Visitors in Southeast Iceland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(13), pages 1-19, July.
    13. Franca Buelow & Nicholas Cradock-Henry, 2018. "What You Sow Is What You Reap? (Dis-)Incentives for Adaptation Intentions in Farming," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(4), pages 1-14, April.
    14. 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).
    15. 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).
    16. Antonina Ivanova & Asim Zia & Paiman Ahmad & Mairon Bastos-Lima, 2020. "Climate mitigation policies and actions: access and allocation issues," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 287-301, June.
    17. Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2017. "Adaptation of future travel habits to climate change," Tourism Economics, , vol. 23(6), pages 1275-1295, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    individual adaptation; perceived risk; adaptation motivation; spatial-temporal distance; information; protection motivation theory;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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