Library Dissertation Showcase

How do people’s knowledge and perceptions of climate change affect behavioural actions towards mitigating its effect?

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to mankind in the 21st century and has also been a complex issue for both policymakers and government. Due to its complexities and also to the current concerns of most governments, it is essential that the public’s perception of climate change is understood. This current study analysed an online questionnaire survey which was sent using a snowball sampling method. It received 157 completed responses and using a range of statistical analyses and a qualitative analysis to interpret the data. The current study found that 78% of participants had high levels of concern about climate change. It also found that there was a statistically significant (p >0.05) correlation between some causal knowledge and perceptions of causes of climate change, also between some perceptions of causes of climate change and behaviour. A regression model with six perceptions significantly accounted for only 15.5% of the variation in a composite score of six behaviours. A regression model for four key demographic groups accounted for 32% of the variation in concern, and that gender and education attainment were significant predictors. For proper policy intervention, the variation in perceptions of causes climate change must be better understood so that policy can target the correct demographic in the most effective way. From the study, the majority of variation in behaviours relating to climate change was accounted for by non-climate change factors. Improving several relevant behaviours must be addressed by providing more key knowledge in an accessible way, together with altering perceptions of causes of climate change in other ways.

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