Climate Change: Concerns, Beliefs and Emotions in Residents, Experts, Decision Makers, Tourists, and Tourist Industry


The aim was to investigate effects of different groups of individuals (residents, tourists, experts, decision makers and members of tourist industry) and demographic variables (gender, age, education) on climate change-related concerns, beliefs and emotions. In line with the predictions: 1) Experts were shown to be least concerned for and afraid of climate change impact; 2) Youngest participants were found to be most, and oldest least, concerned for their future; 3) Women were shown to be more concerned for and afraid of the consequences of climate change; and 4) Men and the least educated participants believed their jobs to be more threatened by the environmental laws and protection, and the latter ones believed moreover that the claims about climate change are exaggerated. Implications of these findings for value orientations and their relationships to environmental concerns, beliefs and emotions are discussed.

Share and Cite:

I. Knez, S. Thorsson and I. Eliasson, "Climate Change: Concerns, Beliefs and Emotions in Residents, Experts, Decision Makers, Tourists, and Tourist Industry," American Journal of Climate Change, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2013, pp. 254-269. doi: 10.4236/ajcc.2013.24025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] W. Kempton, J. Boster and J. Hartley, “Environmental Values in American Culture,” MIT Press, Cambridge, 1995.
[2] L. Saad, “American Sharply Divided on Seriousness of Global Warming,” Gallup Poll Monthly, Gallup, Princeton, 2002, pp. 43-48.
[3] P. Schmuck and C. Vlek, “Psychologists Can Do Much to Support Sustainable Development,” European Psychologist, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2003, pp. 66-76.
[4] S. C. Moser and L. Dilling, “Creating a Climate for Change,” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007.
[5] M. Bonnes and M. Bonaiuto, “Environmental Psychology: From Spatial-Physical Environment to Sustainable Development,” In: R. B. Bechtel and A. Churchman, Eds., Handbook of Environmental Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2002, pp. 28-54.
[6] J. Curry, “Reasoning about Climate Uncertainty,” Climatic Change, Vol. 108, No. 4, 2011, pp. 723-732.
[7] M. van Vugt, “Central, Individual, or Collective Control?” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 45, No. 5, 2002, pp. 783-800.
[8] K. M. Wilson, “Drought, Debate, and Uncertainty: Measuring Reports Knowledge and Ignorance about Climate Change,” Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2000, pp. 1-13.
[9] N. Stern, “The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review,” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006.
[10] G. Bohm and H.-R. Pfister, “Mental Representations of Global Environmental Risks,” Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 9, 2001, pp. 1-30.
[11] E.-L. Sundblad, A. Biel and T. Garling, “Knowledge and Confidence in Knowledge about Climate Change among Experts, Journalists, Politiciants, and Laypersons,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2008, pp. 281-302.
[12] S. Brechin, “Comparative Public Opinion and Knowledge on Global Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol,” Social Policy, Vol. 23, No. 10, 2003, pp. 106-134.
[13] M. Oppenheimer and A. Todorov, “The Psychology of Long-Term Risk,” Climatic Change, Vol. 77, No. 1-2, 2006, pp. 1-6.
[14] W. Viscusi and R. Zeckhauser, “The Perception and Valuation of the Risks of Climate Change,” Climatic Change, Vol. 77, No. 1-2, 2006, pp. 151-177.
[15] S. H. Schwartz, “Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries,” In: M. Zanna, Ed., Advances in Experimental Psychology, Academic Press, Orlando, 1992, pp. 1-65.
[16] S. H. Schwartz, “Are There Universal Aspects in the Structure and Contents of Human Values?” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 50, No. 4, 1994, pp. 19-45.
[17] P. C. Stern, “Toward a Coherent Theory of Environmentally Significant Behavior,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2000, pp. 407-424.
[18] P. C. Stern and T. Dietz, “The Value Basis of Environmental Concern,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 50, No. 3, 1994, pp. 65-84.
[19] P. C.Stern, T. Dietz and J. S. Black, “Support for Environmental Protection: The Role of Moral Norms,” Population and Environment: Behavioral and Social Issues, Vol. 8, No. 3-4, 1986, pp. 204-222.
[20] P. C. Stern, T. Dietz and L. Kalof, “Value Orientations, Gender, and Environmental Concern,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 25, No. 5, 1993, pp. 322-348.
[21] P. C. Stern, T. Dietz, G. A. Guagnano and L. Kalof, “A Value-Belief-Norm Theory of Support for Social Movements: The Case of Environmentalism,” Human Ecology Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1999, pp. 81-97.
[22] P. W. Schultz, “Empathizing with Nature: The Effects of Perspective Taking on Concern for Environmental Issues,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2000, pp. 391-406.
[23] P. W. Schultz, “The Structure of Environmental Concern: Concern for Self, Other People, and the Biosphere,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2001, pp. 1-13.
[24] P. W. Schultz and L. C. Zelezny, “Values and Predictors of Environmental Attitudes: Evidence for Constancy across 14 Countries,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1999, pp. 255-265.
[25] P. W. Schultz and L. C. Zelezny, “Reframing Environmental Messages to Be Congruent with American Values,” Human Ecology Review, Vol. 10, 2003, pp. 126-136.
[26] P. W. Schultz, V. V. Gouveis, L. D. Cameron, G. Tanhka, P. Schmuck and M. Franek, “Values and Their Relationship to Environmental Concern and Conservation Behavior,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2005, pp. 457-475.
[27] L. Steg, L. Dreijerink and W. Abrahamse, “Factors Influencing the Acceptability of Energy Policies: A Test of VBN Theory,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2005, pp. 415-425.
[28] S. Oreg and T. K. Gerro, “Predicting Proenvioronmental Behavior Cross-Nationally: Values, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and Value-Belief-Norm Theory,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 38, No. 4, 2006, pp. 462-483.
[29] A. Hansla, A. Gamble, A. Juliusson and T. Garling, “The Relationships between Awareness of Consequences, Environmental Concern, and Value Orientations,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2008, pp. 1-9.
[30] A. Olofsson and S. Ohman, “General Beliefs and Environmental Concern: Transantlantic Comparisons,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 38, No. 6, 2006, pp. 768-790.
[31] K. D. Van Liere and R. E. Dunlap, “The Social Bases of Environmental Concerns: A Review of Hypotheses, Explanations and Empirical Evidence,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2, 1980, pp. 181-197.
[32] T. Dietz, P. C. Stern and G. A. Guagnano, “Social Structural and Social Psychological Bases of Environmental Concern,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 4, 1998, pp. 450-471.
[33] K. Boehnke, D. Fuss and M. Rupf, “Values and Well-Being: The Mediating Roles of Worries,” In: P. Schmuck and K. M. Sheldon, Eds., Life-Goals and Wellbeing: Towards a Positive Psychology of Human Striving, Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, Seattle, 2001, pp. 85-101.
[34] R. Garcia-Mira, J. E. Real and J. Romay, “Temporal and Spatial Dimensions in the Perception of Environmental Problems: An Investigation of the Concept of Environmental Hyperopia,” International Journal of Psychology, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2005, pp. 5-10.
[35] M. Ojala, “Hope and Worry: Exploring Young People’s Values, Emotions, and Behaviour Regarding Global Environmental Problems,” Doctoral Dissertation, Orebro University, Orebro, 2007.
[36] S. Gossling and C. M. Hall, “Uncertainties in Predicting Tourist Flows Under Scenarios of Climate Change,” Climatic Change, Vol. 79, No. 3-4, 2006, pp. 163-173.
[37] L. Hein, M. J. Metzeger and A. Moreno, “Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Tourism: A Case Study for Spain,” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2009, pp. 170-178.
[38] D. Weaver, “Can Sustainable Tourism Survive Climate Change?” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2012, pp. 5-15.
[39] J. M. Hamilton, D. J. Maddison and R. S. J. Tol, “Climate Change and International Tourism: A Simulation Study,” Global Environmental Change, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2005, pp. 253-266.
[40] D. Viner, “Tourism and Its Interactions with Climate Change,” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2006, pp. 317-322.
[41] S. Gossling and C. Hall, “Tourism and Global Environmental Change: Ecological, Social, Economic and Political Interrelationships,” Routledge, London, 2006.
[42] UNWTO “Climate Change and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges,” World Tourism Organixzation and United Nations Environment. World Tourism Organization, Madrid, 2008.
[43] D. Scott, “Why Sustainable Tourism must Address Climate Change,” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2011, pp. 17-34.
[44] B. Amelung and D. Viner, “Mediterranean Tourism: Exploring the Future with the Tourism Climatic Index,” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2006, pp. 349-366.
[45] C. E. Hanson, J. P. Palutikof, A. Dlugolecki and C. Giannakopoulos, “Bridging the Gap between Science and the Stakeholder: The Case of Climate Change Research,” Climate Research, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2006, pp. 121-133.
[46] D. Maddison, “In Search of Warmer Climates. The Impact of Climate Change on Flows of British Tourists,” Climate Change, Vol. 49, No. 1-2, 2001, pp. 193-208.
[47] H. M. Wang, F. F. Feng and J. H. Wen, “A Study on Interactions and Impact between Climate Change and Tourism,” Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Construction and Risk Management: I and II. Chongqing, 2010, pp. 969-973.
[48] I. Eliasson, G. Olshammar, S. Thorsson, I. Knez, A. Eraydin, B. Gedikli, O. Edizel, H. Andrade, E. B. Henriques and R. Machete, “Urban Tourism and Climate Change,” Urban-Net Research Anthology, Formas, Stockholm, 2010, pp. 41-47.
[49] D. Scott, C. R. de Freitas and A. Matzarakis, “Adaptation in the Tourism and Recreation Sector,” In: G. R. Mc-Gregor, I. Burton and K. Ebi, Eds., Biometeorology for Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change, Springer Netherlands, Houten, 2009, pp. 171-194.
[50] D. Scott, P. Peeters and S. Gossling, “Can Tourism Deliver Its ‘Aspirational’ Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets?” Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2010, pp. 393-408.
[51] J. Willms, “Climate Change = Tourism Change? The likely Impacts of Climate Change on Tourism in Germany’s North Sea Coast Destinations,” In: A. Matzarakis, C. R. De Freitas and D. Scott, Eds., Developments in Tourism Climatology, Freiburg University Press, Freiburg, 2007, pp. 246-253.
[52] P. C. Stern, T. Dietz, L. Kalof and G. A. Guagnano, “Values, Beliefs, and Proenvironmental Action: Attitude Formation toward Emergent Attitude Objects,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 18, 1995, pp. 1611-1636.
[53] L. C. Zelezny, P. P. Chua and C. Aldrich, “New Ways of Thinking about Environmentalism: Elaborating Gender Differences in Environmentalism,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2000, pp. 443-457.
[54] B. Gatersleban, L. Steg and C. Vlek, “Measurement and Determinants of Environmentally Significant Consumer Behavior,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2002, pp. 335-362.
[55] A. Leiserowitz, “Climate Change Risk Perception and Policy Preferences: The Role of Affect, Imagery, and Values,” Climatic Change, Vol. 77, No. 1-2, 2006, pp. 45-72.
[56] B. McKercher, S. F. H. Pang and B. Prideaux, “Do Gender and Nationality Affect Attitudes towards Tourism and Environment?” International Journal of Tourism Research, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2011, pp. 266-300.
[57] M. Ojala, “Adolescents’ Worries ABOUT Environmental Risks: Subjective Well-Being, Values, and Existential Dimensions,” Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2005, pp. 331-347.
[58] F. J. McGuigan, “Experimental Psychology: Methods of Research,” Prentice Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, 1983.
[59] R. M. Liebert and L. L. Liebert, “Science and Behavior: An Introduction to Methods of Psychological Research,” Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1995.
[60] S. H. Schwartz and J. A. Howard, “A Normative Decision-Making Model of Altruism,” In: P. J. Rushton and R. M. Sorrentino, Eds., Altruism and Helping Behavior: Social, Personality, and Developmental Perspectives, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1981, pp. 189-211.
[61] C. D. Cameron and B. K. Payne, “Escaping Affect: How Motivated Emotion Regulation Creates Insensitivity to Mass Suffering,” Journal of Personality and Social Psy-Chology, Vol. 100, No. 1, 2011, pp. 1-15.
[62] F. Fujita, E. Diener and E. Sandvik, “Gender Differences in Negative Affect and Well-Being: The Case for Emotional Intensity,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 61, No. 3, 1991, pp. 427-434.
[63] L. R. Brody, “On Understanding Gender Differences in the Expression of Emotion,” In: S. L. Ablon, D. Brown, E. J. Khantzian and J. E. Mack, Eds., Human Feelings: Explorations in Affect Development and Meaning, Analytic Press, Hillsdale, 1993, pp. 87-121.
[64] A. Eagly, “Sex Differences in Social Behavior: A Social Role Interpretation,” Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1987.
[65] A. Beutel and M. Marini, “Gender and Values,” American Sociological Review, Vol. 60, No. 3, 1995, pp. 436-448.
[66] A. C. Snibbe and H. R. Markus, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Educational Attainment, Agency, and Choice,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 88, No. 4, 2005, pp. 703-720.
[67] P. K. Piff, M. W. Kraus, S. Cote and B. H. Cheng, “Having Less, Giving More: The Influence of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 99, No. 5, 2010, pp. 771-784.
[68] Y. Ma, C. Wang and S. Han, “Neural Responses to Perceived Pain in Others Predict Real-Life Monetary Donations in Different Socioeconomic Contexts,” NeuroImage, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2011, pp. 1273-1280.
[69] E. U. Weber, “Experience-Based and Description-Based Perceptions of Long-Term Risk: Why Global Warming Does Not Scare Us,” Climatic Change, Vol. 77, No. 1-2, 2006, pp. 103-120.
[70] UNCED, “Convention on Biological Diversity,” United Nations Conference on Environment and Development Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992, p. 79.
[71] S. Menzel and S. Bogeholz, “Values, Beliefs and Norms that Foster Chilean and German Pupils’ Commitment to Protect Biodiversity,” International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2010, pp. 31-49.
[72] M. Patchen, “What Shapes Public Reactions to Climate Change? Overview of Research and Policy Implications,” Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2010, pp. 47-68.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.