Cross-country research on public opinion on climate change has mostly focused on people’s beliefs about whether climate change is happening or is a serious problem, with little attention paid to other opinion dimensions such as issue salience. Relying on Eurobarometer data from 28 EU member states, we systematically compare the public’s belief in and salience of climate change, examining variation across the EU using Bayesian multilevel analysis. We find high levels of belief but low levels of salience in most countries. Salience varies substantially between countries and is positively related to country wealth. Levels of greenhouse gas emissions appear to have a negative relationship with both belief and salience, and individuals’ political orientation has more influence on climate opinion (particularly salience) in richer countries than in poorer countries. Overall, our findings suggest that belief and salience are distinct dimensions, and that country context influences salience more than belief.
- Climate change
- Public opinion, Issue salience
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)