Social Capital, Carbon Dependency, and Public Response to Climate Change in 22 European Countries

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Carbon dependency, Climate change, Europe, Public response, Social capital

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Climate change is one of the most challenging issues facing the world today, and it is important to have effective policies to address its impact. One critical factor in shaping climate policy is public response to climate change. In this study, we theoretically and empirically focus on examining the impacts of personal social capital and national carbon dependency on citizens’ response to climate change in 22 European countries. Utilizing individual-level data from the 2016 European Social Survey and corresponding country-level data from multiple sources, we conduct multilevel regression analyses. Findings show that in these 22 European countries people with higher social capital are more likely to have climate-mitigation behavioral intention and show support for climate policy, while greater national carbon dependency tends to inhibit public response to climate change. We conclude by discussing this study’s contributions to the literature and policy implications and offer suggestions for future research.

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Environmental Science & Policy, v. 114, p. 64-72