07 July 2015 - 10 July 2015
Paris, France

Raya Muttarak at the UNESCO conference on climate change

World Population Scientist Raya Muttarak will present latest research on climate change perceptions and individual mitigation behaviours across Europe at this International Scientific Conference.

Smoke stacks from coal powered plant © Calin Tatu | Dreamstime.com

Smoke stacks from coal powered plant © Calin Tatu | Dreamstime.com

Organized under the umbrella of ICSU, Future Earth, UNESCO and under the theme "Our Common Future Under Climate Change", this international conference  builds on the findings of IPCC AR5 (5th assessment report) and addresses key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. With 140 parallel sessions it is the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21), and offers a platform to discuss solutions for both mitigation and adaptation issues, and aims to contribute to a science-society dialogue.

Raya Muttarak will present a paper entitled "Believing, Belonging and Behaving: Exploring Mismatch between Climate Change Perceptions and Individual Mitigation Behaviours across 27 European Countries" at session 2240: Perceptions of climate change on 8 July 2015, between 5:30 - 7:00PM.

For more infromation to this event please visit the conference website.

Presentation Abstract

Individual behaviour is key to CO2 emission reduction. Despite increased awareness of climate change, climate-related beliefs however do not always translate into actions. This study aims to explain the mismatch between beliefs and behaviours by investigating the role of individual socio-demographic, meso and macro level factors across countries and over time. The study employs a novel 3Bs framework –believing, belonging, behaving– originally developed to analyse religiosity in sociology to identify underlying drivers of climate-related actions at micro, meso and macro levels. According to the 3Bs framework, individual socio-demographic characteristics influence internal attributes e.g., values, knowledge and climate risk perceptions (Believing), which can trigger behavioural responses (Behaving). Similarly, external factors e.g., the institutional and cultural conditions of a social group, community and country where people belong (Belonging) mediate attitudes and behaviours. The empirical analysis is based on the Eurobarometer surveys for the years 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013 (Modules 69.2, 72.1, 75.4 and 80.2, respectively) covering over 100,000 respondents in 27 member countries of the European Union. Preliminary results show that women and the highly educated express greater concern about climate change and are more likely to undertake personal actions to mitigate climate change. The public concern about climate change however has decline, especially in the period after the 2008 financial crisis. There is substantial geographic variation for both perceptions towards climate change and climate-related actions, and, importantly, for the extent of the mismatch between attitudes and actions. For instance, residents in countries like Austria, Spain, and Slovenia have both a relatively high concern about climate change and a high proportion of individuals undertaking mitigation actions. On the other hand, a group of many new EU member countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland display both relatively low level of concern about climate change and low level of mitigation actions. Likewise, the same proportion of individuals from Luxembourg and Bulgaria (73.0%) perceived climate change as a very serious problem but only 30.8% of residents in the latter perform mitigation actions as compared to as many as 79.1% of the former. Understanding what barriers prevent individuals from some countries to take actions despite their climate change concern is therefore crucial for policy interventions.

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Last edited: 08 July 2015


Raya Muttarak

Research Scholar

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 329

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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