Politics or Nature? Factors Explaining Climate Change Risk Perception in Europe Using a Multilevel Analysis

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:54
Oral Presentation
Aiste BALZEKIENE, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
Jose ECHAVARREN, University Pablo Olavide, Spain
Audrone TELESIENE, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
The cross-national differences in climate change risk perceptions has been the focus of many empirical studies (e.g. Brechin and Bhandari, 2011; Capstick et al., 2014). The models, explaining climate change concern include both individual level factors and macro level factors. For example, the role of direct experiences for climate change risk perceptions was identified as a significant factor in several studies (e.g. Lujala at al., 2015; Cardona et al., 2012), on the other hand the climate change concern in different countries is also shaped by dominating political discourses (e.g. Leiserowitz, 2006, Whitmarsh,2011).

One of research questions addressed in this presentation is to explore if climate change risk perceptions in Europe is framed by policy discourses or it is rather influenced by country’s vulnerabilities related to natural hazards and climatic abnormalities.

We use multilevel analysis that combines first level variables at individual level and second level variables (at country level) into one analytical model. For the dependent variable of climate change concern and first level variables we use the Eurobarometer 80.2 (2013) on climate change, which provides information from over 28,000 individuals in 27 countries. For second level variables we use data from Manifesto Project, Eurostat, United Nations University Institute, Germanwatch Institute and else. We also take into account the institutional context by introducing the role played by the policies of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Employing multilevel logistic regressions we find a double mechanism to explain climate change perception in Europe. Whereas in Mediterranean countries the effect of natural hazards are more important), in Northern countries the trigger seems to be the pressure of Green parties.

This presentation is a part of the research project ‘Public Perceptions of Climate Change: Lithuanian case in a European Comparative Perspective’, funded by a grant (No. MIP‐17-183) from the Research Council of Lithuania.