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New study by Ákos Bodor, Viktor Varjú and Zoltán Grünhut in Sustainability

Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 23 (December 2020)

The Effect of Trust on the Various Dimensions of Climate Change Attitudes

by Ákos Bodor, Viktor Varjú and Zoltán Grünhut

Transdanubian Research Department, KRTK Institute for Regional Studies, Pécs, Hungary

Received: 2 November 2020 / Revised: 18 November 2020 / Accepted: 3 December 2020 / Published: 7 December 2020

Abstract

The struggle against climate change will not be successful without a sufficient level of collective action. However, a necessary precondition for this is the existence of trust between people. The literature on trust and attitudes to climate change is displaying a growing tendency, and today the results of numerous empirical studies are available. Although, for the time being, on the basis of these studies, we only have a fragmented picture from which it appears that trust is having a significant effect on attitudes to climate change at both the micro and macro levels. The current paper tries to progress on this path and reveal the role of trust in various dimensions of the attitude to climate change using the data of the European Social Survey originating from 22 countries. The results show that while climate change beliefs and climate concern display no relationship with trust, neither on the individual or national level, trust does have a clear effect on the feeling of individual responsibility in connection with climate change and on support for the various policy measures. In addition, it is also investigated whether the effect of trust can be shown to exist in the relationships between climate concern and the feeling of individual responsibility, and climate concern and policy support. The results show that in both cases the relationship is stronger in those countries characterized by a higher level of social trust.

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