Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications

Irene Lorenzoni, Sophie Nicholson-Cole, Lorraine Whitmarsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1372 Citations (SciVal)


This paper reports on the barriers that members of the UK public perceive to engaging with climate change. It draws upon three mixed-method studies, with an emphasis on the qualitative data which offer an in-depth insight into how people make sense of climate change. The paper defines engagement as an individual's state, comprising three elements: cognitive, affective and behavioural. A number of common barriers emerge from the three studies, which operate broadly at 'individual' and 'social' levels. These major constraints to individual engagement with climate change have implications for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gases in the UK. We argue that targeted and tailored information provision should be supported by wider structural change to enable citizens and communities to reduce their carbon dependency. Policy implications for effective engagement are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-459
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007


  • Barriers
  • Behaviour
  • Climate change
  • Engagement
  • Mitigation
  • Public perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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