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New PhD

Ph.D: Climate change perceptions across Europe

Thea Gregersen defended her PhD "Climate change perceptions across Europe. From climate change beliefs to climate change mitigation behaviors" on September 23, 2022.

Women, Thea Gregersen looking at the camera with a slight smile in a dark shirt
Thea Gregersen now works as a researcher at NORCE.
Photo:
Thor Brøderskift

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Who is worried about climate change? How does worry about climate change relate to action? And what consequences do people think climate change will have in the country they live in? The thesis "Climate change perceptions across Europe: From climate change beliefs to climate change mitigation behaviors" is based on findings from two large cross-national surveys and shines a spotlight on how people in Europe perceive climate change.

The first part of the thesis examines the connection between perceptions of climate change's causes and consequences on the one hand and concern about climate change on the other. The findings show that climate concern is higher among those who believe that climate change is man-made and will have negative consequences. This connection was stronger for those who placed themselves further to the left on the political spectrum.

In the second part of the thesis, we found that climate concern is linked to energy behaviour, for example saving electricity by turning off appliances that are not in use or investing in energy-efficient household appliances. The connection was strongest among those who believed that changes in energy use can actually help reduce climate change.

In the last part of the thesis, we took a closer look at what people in four different European countries believe will be the most important consequences of climate change in the country they live in. Although we find some differences between the countries, it was both in Norway, England, France and Germany most commonly to associate climate consequences with changes in the climate and environment, for example that it will get warmer. Men, those over 55 and those who place themselves further to the right on the political spectrum answered more often that climate change will have few or no climate consequences in the country in which they live.

The results not only show connections between thoughts, feelings and attitudes, but also how this can be influenced by social and political factors, such as the country we live in, age, gender and political orientation.

About Thea Gregersen:

Thea Gregersen (b. 1991) completed her doctorate at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transition (CET) and the Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, UiB. The main supervisor was Rouven Doran, associate professor at the Department of Social Psychology, UiB. Co-supervisors were professor Gisela Böhm, Department of Social Psychology, UiB and Endre Tvinnereim, associate professor at the Department of Politics and Administration, UiB. Thea now works as a researcher at the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE).