Fig. 1 Conceptual and analytical model of individual adaptation to climate change

A growing body of literature argues that subjective factors can more accurately explain individual adaptation to climate change than objective measures of adaptive capacity. Recent studies have shown that personal belief in climate change and affect are much better in explaining climate awareness and action than income, education or gender.

The authors assesses and compare the influence of cognitive, experiential and structural factors on individuals’ views and intentions regarding climate change adaptation. Data from this study comes from a survey with 836 forest owners in Sweden. Ordinal and binary logistic regression was used to test hypotheses about the different factors. Results show that cognitive factors—namely personal level of trust in climate science, belief in the salience of climate change and risk assessment—are the only statistically significant factors that can directly explain individuals’ intention to adapt to climate change and their sense of urgency.

Findings also suggest that structural or socio-demographic factors do not have a statistically significant influence on adaptation decision-making among Swedish forest owners. The study also offers valuable insights for communication interventions to promote adaptation. Findings strongly suggest that communication interventions should focus more strongly on building trust and addressing stakeholders’ individual needs and experiences.

Read the article (external link, open access)