Climate beliefs, climate technologies and transformation pathways: Contextualizing public perceptions in 22 countries

Fritz, L., Baum, C.M., Brutschin, E. ORCID:, Low, S., & Sovacool, B.K. (2024). Climate beliefs, climate technologies and transformation pathways: Contextualizing public perceptions in 22 countries. Global Environmental Change 87 e102880. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2024.102880.

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Project: GeoEngineering and NegatIve Emissions pathways in Europe (GENIE, H2020 951542), Bridging current knowledge gaps to enable the UPTAKE of carbon dioxide removal methods (UPTAKE, HE 101081521)


As emerging methods for carbon removal and controversial proposals around solar radiation modification are gaining traction in climate assessments and policy debates, a better understanding of how the public perceives these approaches is needed. Relying on qualitative data from 44 focus groups (n = 323 respondents), triangulated with a survey conducted in 22 countries (n = over 22 000 participants), we examine the role that climate change beliefs and attitudes towards climate action play in the formation of public perceptions of methods for carbon removal and solar radiation modification. We find that nationally varying degrees of perceived personal harm from climate change and climate worry predict support for these technologies. In addition to different perceptions of the problem, varying perceptions of the solution – i.e. the scope of climate action needed − shape publics’ assessment. Various tensions manifest themselves in publics’ reflections on the potential contribution of these climate technologies to climate action, including “buying time vs. delaying action”, “treating the symptoms vs. tackling the root causes”, and “urgency to act vs. effects only in the distant future”. We find that public perceptions are embedded in three broader narratives about transformation pathways, each reflecting varying notions of responsibility: (i) behavior change-centred pathways, (ii) top-down and industry-centred pathways, and (iii) technology-centred pathways. These results suggest that support for the deployment of the climate technologies studied hinges on them being tied to credible system-wide decarbonization efforts as well as their ability to effectively respond to a variety of perceived climate impacts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carbon dioxide removal; Solar geoengineering; Negative emissions technologies; Climate governance; Sustainability
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2024 11:11
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 10:47

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