Tackling climate change requires both policy and individual action. Mobilizing such action can be made more optimal with knowledge about how the public views climate change solutions and what they think needs to be done in the face of climate change. Yet most public opinion research to date uses either closed questions about agreement with various pre-determined statements (such as views on science, worry, and support for given policy options) or use open-ended questions eliciting generic associations with climate change. This article uses an open-ended survey question in a probability-based Internet survey panel in Norway, analyzing 4634 textual responses to the question of “what should be done” about climate change. Using structural topic modeling (STM), we induce seven topics: Transportation, energy transition, attribution of climate change, emission reduction, the international dimension, lifestyle/consumption and government measures. We find that Norwegians strongly emphasize mitigation over adaptation, as few responses mention the latter topic. Also, men seem to externalize the solutions to climate change, emphasizing energy policies, the international dimension, and discussions about the causes of climate change, while women to a larger extent understand climate action as an issue involving individual behavior, calling for better public transportation and lifestyle changes. Overall, our results suggest a willingness to accept stronger mitigation action, but also that central and local governments need to facilitate low-carbon choices, bridging policy and individual action to mitigate climate change.
Tvinnereim, E., Fløttum, K., Gjerstad, Ø., Johannesson, M. P., & Nordø, Å. D. (2017). Citizens’ preferences for tackling climate change. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of their freely formulated solutions. Global Environmental Change, 46, 34–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.06.005