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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Are values related to culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place the values most vulnerable to climate change?

Blennow, Kristina; Persson, Erik; Persson, Johannes

Abstract

Values related to culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place have sometimes been downplayed in the climate change discourse. However, they have been suggested to be not only important to citizens but the values most vulnerable to climate change. Here we test four empirical consequences of the suggestion: (i) at least 50% of the locations citizens' consider to be the most important locations in their municipality are chosen because they represent these values, (ii) locations representing these values have a high probability of being damaged by climate change induced sea level rise, (iii) citizens for which these values are particularly strongly held less strongly believe in the local effects of climate change, and (iv) citizens for which these values are particularly strongly held less strongly believe that they have experienced the effects of climate change. The tests were made using survey data collected in 2014 from 326 citizens owning property in Hoganas municipality, Sweden, and included values elicited using a new methodology separating instrumental values from end values, and using the former (which strictly speaking should be seen as estimates of usefulness rather than as aims in themselves) as stepping stones to pinpoint the latter, that represent the true interests of the respondents. The results provide the first evidence that, albeit frequent, values related to culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place are not the values most vulnerable to climate change. This in turn indicates a need to further investigate the vulnerability of these values to climate change, using a methodology that clearly distinguishes between instrumental and end values.

Published in

PLoS ONE
2019, Volume: 14, number: 1, article number: e0210426