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Exploring the Adaptation-mitigation Relationship: Does Information on the Costs of Adapting to Climate Change Influence Support for Mitigation?

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Abstract

Can information about adaptation costs influence citizens’willingness to support climate change mitigation? Some scholars are concerned that policy discussions on adaptation might present climate change as a more manageable problem, and therefore crowd out mitigation efforts.On the other hand, providing information on adaptation costs may sensitize citizens to these costs, thereby increasing their willingness to support mitigation. To assess these conflicting predictions, we fielded a web-based survey experiment using a sample of 2,000 US-based respondents. We presented the respondents with a hypothetical newspaper article regarding a proposed gasoline tax (a mitigation strategy) and measured the support for this proposal across different treatment groups. In the control group, the respondents were told that failure to mitigate climate change could result in a potentially catastrophic outcome, whereas in each of the treatment groups the respondents were provided with information concerning possible adaptation costs. The respondents were then asked about their willingness to support a gasoline tax. Our key finding is that the provision of information about adaptation costs leads to a small increase in the respondents’willingness to support mitigation efforts.Furthermore, we find that this effect becomes larger when the information regarding adaptation costs is made more specific.

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We examine the trade-offs associated with using Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) interface for subject recruitment. We first describe MTurk and its promise as a vehicle for performing low-cost and easy-to-field experiments. We then assess the internal and external validity of experiments performed using MTurk, employing a framework that can be used to evaluate other subject pools. We first investigate the characteristics of samples drawn from the MTurk population. We show that respondents recruited in this manner are often more representative of the U.S. population than in-person convenience samples-the modal sample in published experimental political science-but less representative than subjects in Internet-based panels or national probability samples. Finally, we replicate important published experimental work using MTurk samples. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology. All rights reserved.
Article
Public flood protection cannot eliminate totally the risk of flooding. Hence, private mitigation measures which proactively protect homes from being flooded or reduce flood damage are an essential part of modern flood risk management. This study analyses private flood mitigation measures among German households. The final data set covers more than 4200 households from all parts of the country, including flood plains as well as areas which are typically not at a high risk of riverine flooding. The results suggest that the propensity to mitigate flood damage increases i.a. with past damage experience and damage expectations for the future. The latter effect can be interpreted as a ‘climate adaptation signal’ in the flood mitigation behaviour. All other factors remaining equal, a strong belief in a climate-change-induced increase of personal flood damage in the next decades correlates with an increase of the probability of flood mitigation by more than 10 percentage points. Moreover, empirical evidence for moral hazard in the flood mitigation behaviour cannot be observed. Households expecting insurance coverage do not reduce their mitigation efforts. Likewise, the expectation of government relief payments hinders mitigation only for some groups of households.
Article
Many have speculated that increased attention to climate change adaptation will reduce support for mitigation. The Risk Compensation Hypothesis suggests that remedies to reduce the impacts of risky behaviors can unintentionally increase those behaviors. The Risk Salience Hypothesis suggests that information about adaptation may increase the salience of impacts, and therefore increase mitigation support. Experiment 1 presented participants with a news article about an irrigation technology described as a way to improve efficiency (Pure Control), reduce emissions (Mitigation Control), or reduce drought vulnerability (Adaptation). Political moderates in the adaptation condition rated climate change as a higher political priority and were more supportive of a policy to subsidize the technology than those in both controls. Results were not replicated in Experiment 2. These results partially support the Risk Salience Hypothesis. There was no evidence to justify the concern that discussing adaptation will reduce support for mitigation or concern about climate change.
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This article is based on a transcript of a speech by Anthony Giddens that was presented as the twentieth Policy & Politics Annual Lecture on 17 March 2015 at the University of Bristol, UK. Hence it is not as polished as an orthodox article might be. The speech is available online at www. bris. ac. uk/sps/policypolitcs/annuallecture2015/. It drew in some part upon the successive editions of his book, The politics of climate change (2009; 2011). Giddens looks at the political issues posed by climate change and stresses the fundamental importance and urgency of the problem for global civilization. Four key propositions are presented. First, that climate change needs to be seen as an immediate issue requiring urgent attention, not as a remote problem down the line. Second, rather than formal targets to limit carbon emissions reached under the auspices of the UN, bilateral and regional accords are likely to be much more important. Third, the power of fossil fuel companies needs to be challenged on a global level. Finally, digitally enhanced global activism can have a powerful impact on the climate change debate and the pressure for change.
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Based on a systematic literature review method that consists of a bibliometric and a content analysis, we examine the current state of research on climate change adaptation and mitigation inter-relationships. Although systematic literature reviews have been applied in other research fields such as health sciences, there are only a few examples in social and environmental sciences. First, we investigate in which research fields the inter-relationships between adaptation and mitigation have been studied and how they have been conceptualised. Second, we analyse what kinds of synergies, trade-offs or conflicts between adaptation and mitigation policies and practices can be identified particularly in urban studies. Third, based on selected urban studies, we examine how inter-relationships between the two policy objectives or practical measures have been studied, in which context, and what is the main outcome of these studies. We also present what suggestions there are for solving conflicts, and how synergies can be enhanced in urban areas. The results indicate that there is value in examining the two together since urban areas are balancing between adaptation and mitigation and have to negotiate trade-offs at different scales.
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Few, if any, political scientists currently study climate change adaptation or are even aware that there is a large and growing interdisciplinary field of study devoted not just to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions but to reducing our vulnerability to the now-inevitable impacts of climate change. The lack of political science expertise and research represents an obstacle for adapting to climate change, because adaptation is fundamentally political. Technical advances in adaptations for infrastructure, agriculture, public health, coastal protection, conservation, and other fields all depend on political variables for their implementation and effectiveness. For example, adaptation raises questions about political economy (adaptation costs money), political theory (adaptation involves questions of social justice), comparative politics (some countries more aggressively pursue adaptation), urban politics (some cities more aggressively pursue adaptation), regime type (democracies and authoritarian regimes may differently pursue adaptation), federalism (different levels of government may be involved), and several other fields of study including political conflict, international development, bureaucracy, migration, media, political parties, elections, civil society, and public opinion. I review the field of climate change adaptation and then explore the tremendous contributions that political scientists could make to adaptation research.
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Public participation is commonly advocated in policy responses to climate change. Here we discuss prospects for inclusive approaches to adaptation, drawing particularly on studies of long-term coastal management in the UK and elsewhere. We affirm that public participation is an important normative goal in formulating response to climate change risks, but argue that its practice must learn from existing critiques of participatory processes in other contexts. Involving a wide range of stakeholders in decision-making presents fundamental challenges for climate policy, many of which are embedded in relations of power. In the case of anticipatory responses to climate change, these challenges are magnified because of the long-term and uncertain nature of the problem. Without due consideration of these issues, a tension between principles of public participation and anticipatory adaptation is likely to emerge and may result in an overly managed form of inclusion that is unlikely to satisfy either participatory or instrumental goals. Alternative, more narrowly instrumental, approaches to participation are more likely to succeed in this context, as long as the scope and limitations of public involvement are made explicit from the outset.
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We examine the relative attractions of a carbon tax, a "pure" cap-and-trade system, and a "hybrid" option (a cap-and-trade system with a price ceiling and/or price floor). We show that the various options are equivalent along more dimensions than often are recognized. In addition, we bring out important dimensions along which the approaches have very different impacts, including some dimensions that have received little attention in prior literature. Although no option dominates the others, a key finding is that exogenous emissions pricing (whether through a carbon tax or through the hybrid option) has a number of important attractions over pure cap and trade. Beyond helping prevent price volatility and reducing expected policy errors in the face of uncertainties, exogenous pricing helps avoid problematic interactions with other climate policies and helps avoid potential wealth transfers to oil-exporting countries.
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This paper sets out to develop key messages for the theory and practice of environmental education from a review of recent research literature on climate change communication (CCC) and education. It focuses on how learners of climate science understand messages on climate change, the communicative contexts for education on climate change, the barriers that can be found to public engagement with climate change issues, and how these barriers can be addressed. 92 peer-reviewed studies were examined. The analysis focuses on the goals and strategies of CCC, and how barriers can be addressed given the research findings on: (a) the content of CCC, (b) visualizations, (c) framing, (d) audience segmentation. The paper concludes that CCC and education need to address barriers to public engagement on several levels simultaneously. It recommends that scholars of environmental education focus critical attention on how practice addresses senses and spheres of agency; sociocultural factors; and the complexities of developing scientific literacy given the interpretative frames and prior understandings that are brought to bear by the public in non-formal education settings.
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How people privately and collectively adapt to climate risk can affect the costs and benefits of public mitigation policy (e.g., Kyoto); an obvious point often neglected in actual policy making. Herein we use the economic theory of endogenous risk to address this optimal mix of mitigation and adaptation strategies, and examine how increased variability in climate change threats affects this mix. We stress that a better understanding of the cross-links between mitigation and adaptation would potentially make it possible to provide more risk reduction with less wealth. Policies that are formulated without considering the cross-links can unintentionally undermine the effectiveness of public sector policies and programs because of unaddressed conflicts between the strategies. We also discuss the cross-disciplinary lessons to be learned from this literature, and identify important research questions to spur discussion in the next round of inquiry.
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It is often claimed that mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change are complementary strategies. If this means that it will usually be optimal to use both mitigation and adaptation to deal with climate change; and that a perceived increase in the damages caused by climate change should require an increase in both mitigation and adaptation, then simple economic analysis would support such an interpretation. However, complementarity has a more technical meaning in economics, which implies if the costs of mitigation fell, then the optimal response would be to increase the level of both mitigation and adaptation. We develop a range of economic models to explore the relationship between mitigation and adaptation; and show that in general adaptation and mitigation will be substitutes. We also find that it is possible for complementarity to occur in the special case where adaptation costs depend on the amount of mitigation.
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This article explores how consumers’ self-regulation affects the likelihood of purchase of new and really new products. A mall-intercept field study shows that consumers with a chronic disposition to be promotion focused own more new high-technology goods and newly launched repeat-purchase items than prevention-focused consumers. There is no difference in ownership of products that have been available for many years. Two laboratory experiments further investigate these findings. In Study 2, the authors manipulate regulatory focus and find that when risks associated with a really new product are not specified to consumers, promotion-focused consumers state higher purchase intentions than prevention-focused consumers. However, when the judgmental context makes the risks salient, prevention- and promotion-focused participants are equally unlikely to purchase the product. Study 3 demonstrates that consumers’ self-regulation is unrelated to purchase intentions for products that are not portrayed as new. Mediation analyses in both laboratory studies show that the effect of regulatory focus on purchase intentions for new products is due to concerns about the performance of the new technology, which are more pronounced among prevention-focused consumers. Finally, the authors discuss managerial implications.
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This article analyses the determinants of renewable energy consumption in a panel of six major emerging economies, namely Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Turkey that are proactively accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. Using Fully modified ordinary least square (FMOLS), Dynamic ordinary least square (DOLS), and Granger causality methods this paper finds that in the long-run, renewable energy consumption is significantly determined by income and pollutant emission in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia while mainly by income in Philippines and Turkey. Causal link between renewable energy and income; and between renewable energy and pollutant emission are found to be bidirectional in the short-run. These results suggest that the appropriateness of the efforts undertaken by emerging countries to reduce the carbon intensity by increasing the energy efficiency and substantially increasing the share of renewable in the overall energy mix.
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Policy makers have now recognised the need to integrate thinking about climate change into all areas of public policy making. However, the discussion of ‘climate policy integration’ has tended to focus on mitigation decisions mostly taken at international and national levels. Clearly, there is also a more locally focused adaptation dimension to climate policy integration, which has not been adequately explored by academics or policy makers. Drawing on a case study of the UK, this paper adopts both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective to explore how far different sub-elements of policies within the agriculture, nature conservation and water sectors support or undermine potential adaptive responses. The top-down approach, which assumes that policies set explicit aims and objectives that are directly translated into action on the ground, combines a content analysis of policy documents with interviews with policy makers. The bottom-up approach recognises the importance of other actors in shaping policy implementation and involves interviews with actors in organisations within the three sectors. This paper reveals that neither approach offers a complete picture of the potentially enabling or constraining effects of different policies on future adaptive planning, but together they offer new perspectives on climate policy integration. These findings inform a discussion on how to implement climate policy integration, including auditing existing policies and ‘climate proofing’ new ones so they support rather than hinder adaptive planning.
Article
Case-Studies of the policy-making process constitute one of the more important methods of political science analysis. Beginning with Schattschneider, Herring, and others in the 1930's, case-studies have been conducted on a great variety of decisions. They have varied in subject-matter and format, in scope and rigor, but they form a distinguishable body of literature which continues to grow year by year. The most recent addition, a book-length study by Raymond Bauer and his associates, stands with Robert A. Dahl's prize-winning Who Governs? (New Haven 1961) as the best yet to appear. With its publication a new level of sophistication has been reached. The standards of research its authors have set will indeed be difficult to uphold in the future. American Business and Public Policy is an analysis of political relationships within the context of a single, well-defined issue—foreign trade. It is an analysis of business attitudes, strategies, communications and, through these, business relationships in politics. The analysis makes use of the best behavioral research techniques without losing sight of the rich context of policies, traditions, and institutions. Thus, it does not, in Dahl's words, exchange relevance for rigor; rather it is standing proof that the two—relevance and rigor—are not mutually exclusive goals.
Article
Non-market techniques are widely used for valuing environmental goods and services. Recent articles obtain results showing respondents to the right of the political spectrum are significantly less likely to vote in favour of environmental programs that provide public goods through public means. In consequence, their WTP is lower than that of individuals on the political left. We examine whether WTP differs systematically in accordance with political affiliation by using data from three stated preference surveys. We obtain results similar to the previous literature from only one survey. Our other two surveys employ different contexts that change the nature of the benefits from the good and/or its provision mechanism. The first of these finds no significant differences in WTP by respondent political affiliation and the second finds that respondents on the right of the political spectrum have statistically higher WTPs for a good when it is privately provided than under collective provision. Our results provide further support that context matters and that preferences elicited from surveys for environmental goods are not necessarily independent of the means by which the good is provided.
Article
The latest round of international negotiations in Copenhagen led to a set of commitments on emission reductions which are unlikely to stabilise global warming below or around 2°C. As a consequence, in the absence of additional ambitious policy measures, adaptation will be needed to address climate-related damages. What is the role of adaptation in this setting? How is it optimally allocated across regions and time? To address these questions, this paper analyses the optimal mix of adaptation and mitigation expenditures in a cost-effective setting in which countries cooperate to achieve a long-term stabilisation target (550 CO2-eq). It uses an Integrated Assessment Model (AD-WITCH) that describes the relationships between different adaptation modes (reactive and anticipatory), mitigation, and capacity-building to analyse the optimal portfolio of adaptation measures. Results show the optimal intertemporal distribution of climate policy measures is characterised by early investments in mitigation followed by large adaptation expenditures a few decades later. Hence, the possibility to adapt does not justify postponing mitigation, although it reduces its costs. Mitigation and adaptation are thus shown to be complements rather than substitutes.
Article
Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a relatively new website that contains the major elements required to conduct research: an integrated participant compensation system; a large participant pool; and a streamlined process of study design, participant recruitment, and data collection. In this article, we describe and evaluate the potential contributions of MTurk to psychology and other social sciences. Findings indicate that (a) MTurk participants are slightly more demographically diverse than are standard Internet samples and are significantly more diverse than typical American college samples; (b) participation is affected by compensation rate and task length, but participants can still be recruited rapidly and inexpensively; (c) realistic compensation rates do not affect data quality; and (d) the data obtained are at least as reliable as those obtained via traditional methods. Overall, MTurk can be used to obtain high-quality data inexpensively and rapidly. © The Author(s) 2011.
Article
Past good deeds can liberate individuals to engage in behaviors that are immoral, unethical, or otherwise problematic, behaviors that they would otherwise avoid for fear of feeling or appearing immoral. We review research on this moral self-licensing effect in the domains of political correctness, prosocial behavior, and consumer choice. We also discuss remaining theoretical tensions in the literature: Do good deeds reframe bad deeds (moral credentials) or merely balance them out (moral credits)? When does past behavior liberate and when does it constrain? Is self-licensing primarily for others’ benefit (self-presentational) or is it also a way for people to reassure themselves that they are moral people? Finally, we propose avenues for future research that could begin to address these unanswered questions.
Article
The idea that global change produces winners and losers is widely accepted. Yet there have been few systematic discussions of what is meant by “winner” or “loser,” and little attention has been given to the theoretical underpinnings behind identification of winners and losers. This is particularly true within global-change literature, where the phrase “winners and losers” is widely and rather loosely used. In this article, we explore the concept of winners and losers in the context of two aspects of global change: economic globalization and climate change. We first identify two major underlying theoretical perspectives on winners and losers: one suggests that winners and losers are natural and inevitable; the other suggests that winners and losers are socially and politically generated. We then apply these perspectives to current research on global change and demonstrate that they play a decisive role, influencing opinions on what winning and losing entails, who winners and losers are, and how winners and losers should be addressed.
Article
This article analyzes factors affecting countries’ commitment to mitigating global climate change within the scope of existing international institutions. The commitment level is operationalized as an ordinal variable ranging from an agreement with the international institutions (signature and ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change) to the actual implementation of the internationally negotiated modes of behavior (enactment of domestic environmental policies). A theoretical model of governments’ decisionmaking is presented and tested for 91 countries at different levels of economic development with different domestic institutions. A given national government selects its commitment level depending on its incentives and ability to affect global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). An ordered logistic regression model is employed to analyze the factors affecting the levels of national commitment. Empirical analysis suggests that national commitment is significantly affected by the national government's incentives and the ability to affect the global level of GHG emissions, impacted more by the incentives than by the ability, and not affected by the aggregate levels of economic benefits.