The ecological awareness and fear for climate change in Europe


  • Alessandra De Rose Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Maria Rita Testa Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital; Austrian Academy of Sciences; Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria


Climate change, human choices, environmental awareness, multilevel analysis, European policies, Eurobarometer


The impacts of climate change and related hazards are increasingly being felt across the world. It is recognised that climate change is largely anthropogenic and caused by a continuous worsening of environmental conditions. Whether and to what extent these hazards will result in human fatalities depends on the vulnerability of the people affected, or positively put, on their robustness and resiliency. People can choose to respond to the prospect of climate change and decide what steps to take. At community level, they can develop new technologies that will allow economic development while reducing the anthropogenic contributions to climate change. At individual level, the most aware people react to climate change by adopting responsible behaviours. Thus, an important question is whether and how people are aware of the environmental worsening conditions. In this paper, we examine the spreading of the fear for climate change in the 27 countries of European Union. Using the Eurobarometer 2011 survey and multilevel logistic regression models with individuals nested in countries, we found a high level of heterogeneity in people’s concerns about climate change across Europe and, within countries, across individuals with different sociodemographic characteristics. Highly educated people and those who have, or plan to have, children are the groups most concerned about the future challenge posed by climate change.






Research Papers