Climatic Change

, Volume 109, Issue 3–4, pp 417–436 | Cite as

Household perceptions of climate change and preferences for mitigation action: the case of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in Australia

  • Sonia AkterEmail author
  • Jeff Bennett
Open Access


The study aims to reveal Australian households’ perceptions of climate change and their preferences for mitigation action. A web-based survey was conducted in November 2008 in which over 600 households from the state of New South Wales were asked for their willingness to bear extra household expenditure to support the ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’, an emissions trading scheme proposed by the Australian government. The results of the study can be summarized in four key findings. First, respondents’ willingness to pay for climate change mitigation is significantly influenced by their beliefs of future temperature rise. Support for the policy increased at a decreasing rate as the perceived temperature change rose. Second, perceptions of policy failure have a significant negative impact on respondents’ support for the proposed mitigation measure. The higher the perceived likelihood that the measure would not deliver any outcome, the lower was the likelihood that respondents would support the policy. Third, respondent preferences for the proposed policy are influenced by the possibility of reaching a global agreement on emissions reduction. Sample respondents stated significantly higher values for the policy when the biggest polluting countries implement a similar scheme. Finally, respondents’ willingness to take action against climate change, both at the national and household level, is found to be influenced by their level of mass-media exposure. Particularly, those respondents who watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ were significantly more likely to act for climate change mitigation than others.


Contingent Valuation Climate Change Mitigation Contingent Valuation Study Propose Mitigation Measure Unmitigated Climate Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) 2008 year book of Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  2. Berk RA, Fovell RG (1999) Public perceptions of climate change: a willingness to pay assessment. Climatic Change 41:413–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berrens RP, Bohara AK, Jenkins-Smith HC, Silva CL, Weimer DL (2004) Information and effort in contingent valuation surveys: application to global climate change using national internet samples. J Environ Econ Manag 47:331–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cameron TA (2005) Individual option prices for climate change mitigation. J Public Econ 89:283–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carson R, Groves T (2007) Incentive and informational properties of preference questions. Env Res Econ 37:181–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. CSIRO (2008) Regional temperature projections in Australia to 2100 for three climate cases, data prepared for the Garnaut climate change review. CSIRO, AspendaleGoogle Scholar
  7. CSIRO, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2007) Climate change in Australia: technical report 2007. CSIROGoogle Scholar
  8. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (2008) Carbon pollution reduction scheme: Australia’s Low Pollution Future, White Paper, Volume 1, December 2008.
  9. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (2010) National greenhouse gas inventory 2007—Kyoto protocol accounting framework.
  10. Garnaut R (2008) The Garnaut climate change review: final report, Commonwealth of Australia. Cambridge University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  11. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) IPCC fourth assessment report: climate change 2007.
  12. Karl TR, Trenberth KE (2003) Modern global climate change. Science 302:1719–1723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Krinsky I, Robb AL (1986) On approximating the statistical properties of elasticities. Rev Econ Stat 68:715–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee JJ, Cameron TA (2008) Popular support for climate change mitigation: evidence from a general population mail survey. Env Res Econ 41:223–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lowe T, Brown K, Dessai S, de França Doria M, Haynes K, Vincent K (2006) Does tomorrow ever come? Disaster narrative and public perceptions of climate change. Public Underst Sci 15:435–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Macmillan DC, Hanley N, Buckland S (1996) Contingent valuation of uncertain environmental gains. Scot J Polit Econ 43:519–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nolan JM (2010) “An Inconvenient Truth” increases knowledge, concern, and willingness to reduce greenhouse gases. Environ Behave. doi: 10.1177/0013916509357696
  18. Poe GL, Severance-Lossin EK, Welsh MP, (1994) Measuring the difference (X–Y) of simulated distributions: a convolutions approach. Am J Agric Econ 76(4):904–915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ready R, Whitehead J, Blomquist G (1995) Contingent valuation when respondents are ambivalent. J Environ Econ Manag 29:181–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. The Commonwealth Treasury (2008) Australia’s low pollution future: the economics of climate change mitigation.
  21. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2008) GHG data from UNFCCC.
  22. Viscusi WK, Zeckhauser RJ (2006) The perception and valuation of the risks of climate change: a rational and behavioral blend. Climatic Change 77:151–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wilson KM (1995) Mass media as sources of global warming knowledge. Mass Commun Review 22(1–2):75–89Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crawford School of Economics and Government (Building 132)The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations