Perceptions of climate change risk in four disaster-impacted rural Australian towns

Boon, Helen Joanna (2016) Perceptions of climate change risk in four disaster-impacted rural Australian towns. Regional Environmental Change, 16 (1). pp. 137-149.

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Abstract

Australia, a country which has regularly experienced various natural disasters, is now set to face more intense and frequent disasters in the twenty-first century as a result of climate change. Prior research indicates that in Australia, the perceived risks of climate change are mixed and becoming less prevalent across rural and urban locations, posing a threat to the public’s adoption of mitigation and adaptation strategies. Research was conducted in four disaster-impacted rural Australian towns to investigate whether prior disaster experience, trust in climate change risk communications and specific location predicted climate change risk perceptions. Four case study sites were chosen exemplifying communities impacted by different types of disaster events. The case study towns were Beechworth (wildfire, 2009) and Bendigo (drought, 2002–2008) in Victoria; Ingham (flood, 2009) and Innisfail (cyclone, 2006) in Queensland. Structural equation modelling analyses of surveys returned by a sample of 1,008 householders across the four towns showed that prior disaster experience had no impact upon climate change risk perceptions. Instead climate change risk perceptions were predicted by trust in climate change communications, climate change knowledge and the geographical location of the sample, suggesting the need for targeted, place-specific contextual communication interventions that consider the needs and socioeconomic characteristics of the community in question.

Item ID: 36939
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1436-378X
Keywords: climate change, risk, disaster, rural, Australia, trust, communications, structural equation modelling
Funders: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2015 23:57
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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