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Forest Owners' Response to Climate Change: University Education Trumps Value Profile
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet.
Lunds Universitet.
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5000-948X
University of Freiburg.
2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 5, e0155137Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Do forest owners' levels of education or value profiles explain their responses to climatechange? The cultural cognition thesis (CCT) has cast serious doubt on the familiar andoften criticized "knowledge deficit" model, which says that laypeople are less concernedabout climate change because they lack scientific knowledge. Advocates of CCT maintainthat citizens with the highest degrees of scientific literacy and numeracy are not the mostconcerned about climate change. Rather, this is the group in which cultural polarization isgreatest, and thus individuals with more limited scientific literacy and numeracy are moreconcerned about climate change under certain circumstances than those with higher scientificliteracy and numeracy. The CCT predicts that cultural and other values will trump thepositive effects of education on some forest owners' attitudes to climate change. Here,using survey data collected in 2010 from 766 private forest owners in Sweden and Germany,we provide the first evidence that perceptions of climate change risk are uncorrelatedwith, or sometimes positively correlated with, education level and can be explained withoutreference to cultural or other values. We conclude that the recent claim that advanced scientificliteracy and numeracy polarizes perceptions of climate change risk is unsupported bythe forest owner data. In neither of the two countries was university education found toreduce the perception of risk from climate change. Indeed in most cases university educationincreased the perception of risk. Even more importantly, the effect of university educationwas not dependent on the individuals' value profile.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library Science , 2016. Vol. 11, no 5, e0155137
National Category
Climate Research
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-121247DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155137ISI: 000376881700016PubMedID: 27223473OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-121247DiVA: diva2:931671
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 226544
Available from: 2016-05-30 Created: 2016-05-30 Last updated: 2016-08-17Bibliographically approved

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