9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Climate Change and the Public Building I, Audit├│rio 4

European┬┤s Perceptions of climate change and global warming: A micro-macro analysis

This paper discusses the problem of perception of global climate change on two levels: on the international level by use of the data of different Eurobarometer studies and on the level of the individuals by use of two qualitative studies that our research group has conducted in Germany in 2009.
Based on the Eurobarometer studies EBS 300, EBS 295 and EB Flash 219 the first part of the paper will compare selected European countries with regard to the perception of climate change and global warming. The major effects, for instance the extremely significant effect of the people?s education, will be mentioned and compared between the different European countries. The main focus will be on the gap between knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
The second part of the paper will focus the results of qualitative studies on the micro level. What role plays the climate change issue in people?s every day life? Why a gap between the perception and the attitudes on one side and the behaviour on the other side is existent. What explanations people give by themselves for this discrepancy.
It will be of special interest to contrast the results of the large international surveys with the micro studies. For instance EBS 300 tells us that the most common practices are the choice of a more environmental mode of transport (28%), reduced car use (25%) and the purchase of a less-polluting vehicle (18%) but it does not tell us why the percentage is so low compared with the high percentage (75%) of Europeans who think that climate change is a very serious problem,