Climate Change? No, Wise Resource Use is the Issue: Social Representations of Energy, Climate Change and the Future.

  • Fischer A
  • Peters V
  • Neebe M
 et al. 
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Recent social scientific research has often dealt with public perceptions of climate change as an isolated topic. In contrast, we explored through qualitative interviews ( n = 202) across five European countries how members of the public conceptualized climate change within a wider context of energy and the future, drawing on social representation theory. Our analysis suggests that, rather than separating between environmental issues, participants interpreted both climate change and energy consumption in a context of unsustainable resource use. Views on climate change were often very sceptical, but the unsustainability of contemporary resource use was almost unanimously of great concern. However, despite their strong plea for political change towards sustainability, many interviewees found it challenging to translate their views into behaviour. We argue that obstacles for behavioural change might lie in the tensions between cognitive, normative and affective aspects of people)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Climatic changes
  • Energy consumption
  • Environmental policy
  • Political change
  • climate change
  • emotions
  • energy
  • natural resource use
  • normative
  • social representations
  • sustainability

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Authors

  • Anke Fischer

  • Vera Peters

  • Mirjam Neebe

  • Jan Vávra

  • Antoinette Kriel

  • Miloslav Lapka

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