In the study, we empirically explore the interaction between individuals’ perceptions of climate engineering (CE) methods and their mitigation efforts. We test whether individuals mitigate less, more, or do not behave differently when informed about the availability of new technologies to counteract climate change. In a large-scale survey experiment, we inform groups of subjects about (1) BECCS, (2) a scenario where stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) complements mitigation (peak shaving), or (3) a scenario where SAI largely substitutes mitigation. In the analysis we compare the level of mitigation in the three groups to a baseline group which does not receive any information on CE technologies. We observe mitigation behavior via the purchase of voluntary carbon offsets to learn more about the effect of CE perception on mitigation. We extend prior work (Merk et al., 2016) by analyzing the determinants of the trade-off decisions between the technologies and mitigation looking especially at internalized norms for mitigation and the emotional responses to the technology descriptions and framings. We find a downward effect of technology information on mitigation in scenarios where CE technologies complement mitigation.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Christine Merk works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Kiel, Germany). One of her main research interests are individuals’ trade-offs between mitigation and climate engineering technologies. She conducts economic experiments integrating concepts from the psychology of risk perception to learn more about individuals’ perceptions of and reactions to climate engineering. Furthermore, she researches the effects of nudging interventions on sustainable consumption in field experiments. Her background is in political and administration science, and she holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Kiel University