CEDM News: “Public Perception, Knowledge and Policy Support for Mitigation and Adaption to Climate Change in Costa Rica: Comparisons with North American and European Studies” recently published by Vignola, Klinsky, Tam and McDaniels
CEDM colleagues Vignola, Klinsky and McDaniels have recently published a piece on “Public perception, knowledge and policy support for mitigation and adaption to Climate Change in Costa Rica: Comparisons with North American and European studies” in the journal Mitigation and Adaption Strategies for Global Change.
The abstract reads: “Over the past 20 years considerable efforts have been invested in exploring how the public understands climate change. However, the bulk of this research has been con- ducted in Europe and North America and little is known about public perceptions of climate change in developing countries. This article presents the results of the first nationally representative study (n01473) of public perceptions of climate change in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, a large proportion of interviewees (i.e. over 85%) are highly concerned about climate change in general and feel, as noted in European and North American studies, that its impacts are more worrisome for people farthest away (e.g. in the developed countries or among future generations). At the local level, people feel that food (10.5%) and water (16.1%) shortages as well as poverty (11.3%) and heat waves (11.7%) are the most expected impacts of climate change. Analysis of adaptation behaviour responses suggest that individuals have a relatively lower grasp of emergency and prevention disaster plans but are relatively more proactive in preventing hydro-meteorological extremes related to water scarcity or excess. A majority of respondents engage in mitigation behaviours largely for financial or contextual reasons. Finally, support for adaptation and mitigation policy responses is generally high (i.e. above 70% of interviewee supports them) except for the case of internalizing the cost of watershed protection increasing the water tariffs (52.5%). As discussions about mitigation and adaptation become increasingly common within developing countries, questions about public perceptions in that context are more pressing than ever. Work on climate perceptions needs to be carried out in specific countries to better understand which policies are most likely to resonate with public support, and which might be most difficult to implement.
This is the paper that reports on work done on behalf of the Costa Rica President’s office, and was directly presented to President Arias and some of his cabinet.