Perceptions of climate change

Lorraine Whitmarsh, Stuart Capstick

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

100 Citations (SciVal)


Understanding public perceptions of climate change is critical in order to develop effective communication strategies, democratic policies, and socially robust technologies. This chapter provides an overview of research on the nature and dynamics of public perceptions of climate change. Awareness about climate change has become widespread over the last few decades, although concern has been variable over time and internationally. Skepticism about the reality and severity of climate change is low overall among the public worldwide, though it grew in some Western nations in the late 2000s, particularly among more right-leaning constituencies. Factors influencing public perceptions include weather and weather events, economic factors, sociopolitical events and media coverage, and individual-level factors, particularly a person’s worldviews and ideology. There has been a reliance on survey research in this field, and future work should expand the role for other methods and allied disciplines (e.g., ethnography, neuroscience).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology and Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Perceptions, Impacts, and Responses
PublisherElsevier Masson
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780128131305
ISBN (Print)9780128131312
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Climate change
  • Concern
  • Psychology
  • Public perceptions
  • Risk perception
  • Understanding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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