Fossil Fuel Employment and Public Opinion about Climate Change
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Public opinion about climate change has been shown to vary according to gender, age, ideological views, and placement in social networks, while variation in climate policy has been explained referring to economic factors such as reliance on fossil fuels. Nevertheless, an individual's type of employment – which combines social networks and economic interests – has not to date been used as a predictor for public opinion about climate change. Using data from Norway, we find that respondents working with fossil fuels show significantly less acceptance of mainstream climate scientific findings than the general population. This result implies that climate science communication needs to integrate information about how the economic situation of specific groups may be affected by mitigation efforts: one needs to imagine a coal or oil worker in the room. Furthermore, policymakers pushing for more mitigation need to facilitate employment opportunities in fields requiring skills similar to those found in the fossil fuels sectors, such as carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, and offshore wind.