Climate change and society: the study on impacts, challenges, trends and perceptions

In 2023, a group of researchers from different disciplines published the scientific paper “Interlinkages between Climate Change Impacts, Public Attitudes, and Climate Action – Exploring Trends before and after the Paris Agreement in the EU”, which focuses on the impact of climate on public opinion and on climate policy in European countries.

Using three different databases, including the European Extreme Events Climate Index, the study analyses three different aspects for each of the twenty-seven European countries: (1) national climate mitigation policies; (2) the impact of climate change in terms of heat waves and drought; (3) public awareness of climate change and the measures to be taken to mitigate its effects.

The results of the study bring to the fore two worrying findings: national climate policies have not improved since the Paris Agreement (2015) and, in actual fact, in some areas of Eastern Europe they have even become weaker and less effective. However, this trend takes place within a social context in which public awareness of climate change is gradually increasing, especially in Northern European countries. It is precisely in these areas, where the thermal stress is most evident, that climate policies are improving, as is emphasised in the paper, which identifies a correlation between increasingly negative climatic impacts and public awareness of the need to implement climate support measures.

Although communities are, as a general rule, becoming increasingly aware of climatic issues – albeit with the appropriate macro-regional differences – there is a considerable lag in the responses put forward by the institutions and the world of politics.

Read the paper here.