Public perception, knowledge and policy support for mitigation and adaption to Climate Change in Costa Rica: Comparisons with North American and European studies

R. Vignola, S. Klinsky, J. Tam, T. McDaniels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 conducted 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-323
Number of pages21
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Costa Rica
  • Mitigation
  • Public perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology

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