Towards Climate Justice: Examining Concern for Climate Change in Developed, Transitioning and Developing Countries
AuthorRunning, Katrina Marie
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a comparative international study of attitudes towards climate change. Using multilevel models, individual level data from the 2005-2008 wave of the World Values Survey, and country level data from the 2010 Climate Risk Index and the World Bank, this research identifies the factors associated with concern for global warming and support for various environmental policies and behaviors in economically developed, transitioning, and developing countries. The first paper addresses an ongoing debate in environmental sociology about the extent to which concern for environmental problems is a result of the objective deterioration of environmental conditions or subjective values among environmentally-oriented individuals. Findings indicate that a country's recent experience with climate-related environmental disasters has little to no effect on concern for global warming. Some support is found for the subjective values explanation, especially in countries at the most advanced stage of economic development. The second paper frames climate change as an asymmetrical social dilemma and tests whether four distinct citizenship identities are associated with the odds an individual considers global warming a very serious problem. This study finds that identifying as world citizens and autonomous individuals increases the odds an individual judges global warming very serious, while identifying as national citizens or local community members has no relationship with evaluations of global warming. The third paper examines the impact of numerous measures of security/vulnerability on individual willingness to make environment-economy trade-offs. The data reveal that higher household incomes, residing in a country with higher per capita GDP, and higher rates of adult literacy are positively associated with prioritizing environmental protection over economic growth. However, residents of economically developing countries (or countries designated Non-Annex I by the Kyoto Protocol) are also much more likely to express willingness to donate personal income for the protection of the environment compared to residents of developed (Annex I) countries. The findings from these three studies have implications for sociological research on the relationship between economic inequality and environmental attitudes, the conditions under which international cooperation on climate is more or less likely, and the quest for climate justice.
Degree ProgramGraduate College