Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2015: Ökonomische Entwicklung - Theorie und Politik - Session: Environmental Economics V E13-V3
Based on unique data from representative computer-based surveys among more than 3400 citizens, this paper empirically examines the determinants of climate change beliefs, climate policy support, and climate protection activities in three countries which are key players in international climate policy, namely the USA, Germany (as largest country in the European Union), and China. Our econometric analysis focuses on the effect of ideological and political identification and especially considers the interrelationship between a right-wing or a left-wing orientation and environmental values. Our estimation results imply that environmental awareness is in all three countries the major factor for attitudes and activities towards climate change. In Germany, citizens with a conservative, but not social or green orientation significantly less often support climate policy and particularly have a significantly lower willingness to pay a price premium for climate-friendly products, whereas ideological differences are negligible for climate change beliefs. In contrast, a right-wing orientation has significantly negative effects on all attitudes and activities towards climate change in the USA. Furthermore, an increasing environmental awareness decreases ideological differences in the support of climate policy in Germany and the USA and especially in general climate change beliefs and beliefs in anthropogenic climate change in the USA. Our estimation results suggest alternative strategies such as specific communication campaigns in order to reduce the climate change skepticism in conservative and right-wing circles in the USA and to increase the support of climate policy among such population groups.