Public Understanding of Climate Change in Taiwan

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Shih-Yun KUO, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, Taiwan
Global climate change has been contributed by humans’ behaviors (e.g., energy use, consumption) and its adverse consequences has also affected humans’ wellbeing (e.g., extreme events, agriculture). It is impossible to decouple climate change and the socio-economic human systems, which makes the sociological study on the complex interrelationship so significant and interesting. Due to Taiwan’s high greenhouse gas emissions and high climate change impact and risk, we cannot avoid the responsibility in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation issues. Therefore, it is particularly important to investigate how citizens of a newly industrialized country perceived, comprehend and respond to this high scientific-complexity global problem.

This study first develops a comprehensive structural survey instrument that not only covers aspects of climate science, mitigation and adaptation but also includes aspects of general attitude, scientific knowledge, and behavioral intentions. The survey is composed of four dimensions and 40 variables in total. This questionnaire was carried out in May 2017 to measure the general public’s understanding of climate change within the random-sampling telephone survey method (n=1254). The preliminary results show that while Taiwanese citizens are highly concerned of climate change risks, they only consider themselves hold a medium level of understanding, which reflects on their performance in the scientific knowledge dimension. Moreover, Taiwanese citizens show a relatively high willingness to take climate actions and support climate policies based on a strong sense of ecological citizenship. This empirical study ultimately hopes to contribute the development of science education and science communication of climate change (i.e., how to effectively communicate with individuals) and contribute the development of climate change decision (i.e., how to formulate a public supported policy).