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Climate change beliefs in an agricultural context: what is the role of values held by farming and non-farming groups?

Abstract

Climate change in many agricultural contexts will increase tensions between farming and non-farming populations over adaptations in land use and water conservation strategies. How adequately these future tensions may be mitigated will be partially determined by each groups' beliefs about climate change. A voluminous literature shows that climate change beliefs are crucial for understanding engagement with climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, and that values motivate climate change beliefs, but the role of values remains unclear, and comparisons of farming and non-farming populations are scant. We develop a model of climate change beliefs that integrates four main motivating factors - values, political ideology, knowledge, and worldview - and we explicitly compare members of farming and non-farming populations in an agricultural watershed in the Central Great Plains, USA. Our findings highlight the role of held values in motivating climate change beliefs and point to areas of potential consensus and tension within and among members of these two groups. The results provide an empirical basis for developing future climate change engagement strategies in contexts of growing divides and conflicts among farming and non-farming groups.

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Correspondence to Matthew R. Sanderson.

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Sanderson, M.R., Bergtold, J.S., Heier Stamm, J.L. et al. Climate change beliefs in an agricultural context: what is the role of values held by farming and non-farming groups?. Climatic Change 150, 259–272 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2283-2

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