Thumbnail Image

Ten-year panel data confirm generation gap but climate beliefs increase at similar rates across ages.

Accumulating evidence indicates that climate change awareness and concern has increased globally, but commentators suggest a climate change generation gap whereby younger people care more about climate change than older people. Here we use a decade of panel data from 56,513 New Zealanders to test whether belief that "Climate change is real" and "Climate change is caused by humans" increased over the 2009-2018 period; and whether changes are uniform across 12 five-year birth cohorts spanning those born from 1936 to 1995. Results confirm a generation gap in mean (intercept) climate change beliefs but not in over-time increase (slope). The generation gap occurs because older cohorts started from a lower initial belief level (circa 2009), but all age cohorts increased their belief level at a similar rate over the last decade; and these results were not qualified by respondents' gender. The findings offer hope for collective action that bridges efforts across generations.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Milfont, T. L., Zubielevitch, E., Milojev, P., & Sibley, C. G. (2021). Ten-year panel data confirm generation gap but climate beliefs increase at similar rates across ages. Nat Commun, 12(1), 4038. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24245-y
Springer Nature
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. © The Author(s) 2021