Farmers and climate change: a cross-national comparison of beliefs and risk perceptions in high-income countries
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Climate change has serious implications for the agricultural industry – both in terms of the need to adapt to a changing climate and to modify practices to mitigate for the impacts of climate change. In high-income countries where farming tends to be very intensive and large-scale, it is important to understand farmers’ beliefs and concerns about climate change in order to develop appropriate policies and communication strategies. Looking across six study sites - Scotland, Midwestern United States, California, Australia and two locations in New Zealand - this paper finds that over half of farmers in each location believe that climate change is occurring. However there is a wide range of beliefs regarding the anthropogenic nature of climate change; only in Australia do a majority of farmers believe that climate change is anthropogenic. In all locations, a majority of farmers believe that climate change is not a threat to local agriculture. The different policy contexts and existing impacts from climate change are discussed as possible reasons for the variation in beliefs. This study compared varying surveys from the different locations and concludes that survey research on farmers and climate change in diverse locations should strive to include common questions to facilitate comparisons.
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