Climate Change: Perceptions and Discourses of Risk
David Etkin and
Journal of Risk Research, 2007, vol. 10, issue 5, 623-641
This paper discusses some of the issues that affect risk awareness with respect to climate change and what their impact has been on people's attitudes. It highlights the large gap between the scientific community and the general public in terms of their understanding, awareness and perception of risks associated with climate change. Awareness is driven both by environmental values or political and economic agendas; particularly important are worldviews and 'myths of nature', which have a great impact on risk perception. Attitudes are further complicated because the problem of climate change comprises a form of 'post-normal science': it needs to be viewed holistically, with consideration of the feedbacks between the climate system, the human system and ecosystems; there is large uncertainty and a plurality of legitimate perspectives; and the issue is complex and difficult or impossible to fit into a traditional linear problem-solving model. It is therefore not a rational decision for most individuals to take actions to reduce risk from climate change in the absence of collective action, yet collective action is extraordinarily difficult to achieve. The benefits of risk reduction also fall primarily upon future generations, while uncertainties mean that differences in perspective, and problems of poor communication, misinformation and unstated assumptions tend to cloud the social discourse.
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:taf:jriskr:v:10:y:2007:i:5:p:623-641
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Risk Research is currently edited by Bryan MacGregor
More articles in Journal of Risk Research from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().