Public opinion on climate change: Belief and concern, issue salience and support for government action

Sam Crawley, Hilde Coffe, Ralph Chapman

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Climate policy across the developed world remains inadequate, despite high levels of concern about climate change among the public. Yet public opinion on climate change is complex, with individuals differing on three key opinion dimensions: belief and concern, issue salience, and support for government action. In this study, we investigate how these dimensions intersect at the individual level. Based on data from an online survey conducted in 2018 in the United Kingdom (N = 787), a latent class analysis reveals that there are five climate change opinion publics. The two largest publics have strong beliefs that climate change is occurring, but view it as a low salience issue, or are wary of government action to address it. We also investigate sociopolitical covariates of each public. By providing a detailed picture of climate change views, these findings can help us to better understand the relationship between public opinion and climate policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-121
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • United Kingdom
  • climate change
  • issue salience
  • public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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