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Support for Climate Change Policy: Social Psychological and Social Structural Influences

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Rural Sociology, Volume 72, Number 2, p.185-214 (2007)



We investigated preferences for climate change mitigation policies and factors contributing to higher levels of policy support. The sample was comprised of 316 Michigan and Virginia residents, all of whom completed mail surveys. Of the eight policies proposed to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, respondents overwhelmingly indicated they would not support a gas tax, while support was highest for shifting subsidies away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy strategies. With the exception of taxes on gasoline and "gas guzzlers," a majority of respondents supported all other mitigation policies. Multivariate analyses revealed that greater trust in environmentalists and less trust in industry, greater recognition of the consequences of climate change, higher income, being black, and older age were predictive of greater policy support. Personal values (e.g., altruism), future orientation, and political affiliation were strong predictors of policy support but only indirectly via worldviews and environmental beliefs.