Responsibility for Climate Change Mitigation: Comparing Politicians and Citizens

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Runa Falck, PhD at the Department of Foreign Languages, will be our speaker at the DIGSSCORE seminar today. Runa will give a 30-minute presentation, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. The event is in a hybrid format, you are welcome to join us for lunch from the Corner room at DIGSSCORE. Food is provided on a first-come first-served basis..

Click here for digital attendance.


Previous research suggests that the most significant risk to achieving climate mitigation goals is the ‘governance trap’, whereby the government seeks to attribute primary responsibility to individuals and vice versa. While it is well documented that individuals tend to call for political action, there is limited knowledge about how politicians attribute responsibility for climate mitigation. The present study examines whether there is evidence for a governance trap, by comparing how politicians and the population attribute responsibility for climate mitigation. To examine the attitudes of politicians and the general population, the study relies on data from the Panel of Elected Representatives and the Norwegian Citizen Panel. Respondents in both surveys were asked in identical ways about the extent to which they think that individuals, the local and regional authorities, the national authorities, the international community, and private business/industry are responsible for climate mitigation. The results provide no evidence of a ‘governance trap’. Contrary to expectations, politicians and the population attribute responsibility to the actors in the same order. However, local politicians and the population attribute less responsibility to themselves than to national authorities, international community, and private business/industry. To meet the global climate mitigation goals, it is essential that the remaining actors do not also attribute the responsibility to others but do indeed agree that they carry the main responsibility for climate mitigation.