Are homeowners willing to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change?

Bichard, Erik; Kazmierczak, Aleksandra
June 2012
Climatic Change;Jun2012, Vol. 112 Issue 3/4, p633
Academic Journal
The need to adapt to climate change impacts, whilst simultaneously limiting greenhouse gas emissions, requires that the government's efforts are joined by public action. In England and Wales, housing contributes significantly to the emissions and many properties are at risk of flooding. This paper investigates the preparedness of homeowners in England and Wales to make changes to their homes in response to the predicted effects of climate change. A telephone survey of 961 homeowners investigated their interest in purchasing mitigation and adaptation improvements against their concern about climate change, awareness of flood risk and attribution of responsibility for action. Whilst the majority of homes had some energy-saving improvements, few were found to have property-level flood protection. The high levels of awareness about climate change and flooding were coupled with the perception of risks as low. Whilst some respondents accepted personal responsibility for action, most believed that the authorities were responsible for flood protection, and would not pay the costs required to make their home more energy-efficient and better prepared for the eventuality of floods. The results suggest that there is scope for further improvement of energy-saving measures, and that the levels of adoption of flood-protection measures are very low. Multi-faceted strategies, including more effective communication of risks and responsibilities, incentives, and material support for the poorest, will need to be developed to overcome the current reluctance by homeowners to invest in flood-protection measures and further energy conservation solutions in the future.


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