How individuals and collectives will respond to climate change is a pivotal yet undeniably uncertain field of analysis. However, questions about the impacts of environmental change on individuals’ intentions, values and actions remain key to future adaptive trajectories across several scales. In response, this paper reports on findings from recent research that aimed to explore cultural, social, and possible behavioural responses to future climate change in Australia.
The research project—called ‘Climate Change and the Public Sphere’—developed regionally modeled climate scenarios that were then used in Q-sort opinion charting; qualitative interviewing; and a deliberative event with members of the Australian public to map responses to, and chart changes under, the different climate scenarios. This paper outlines how members of the Australia public currently perceive and will potentially react to climate change, as well as how they think they and others can and will respond to its future effects. In particular, this paper outlines how different climate scenarios affect participants’ norms and principles; and suggests that limits to social adaptation do exist, creating particular barriers to implementing adaptation policies.
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