Public responses to climate change: The role of deliberation in building capacity for adaptive action

Kersty Hobson, Simon Niemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Public deliberative platforms have been argued as potentially beneficial in fostering adaptive capacity to respond to climate change. However, little is known about the veracity of such claims, and indeed how deliberation and adaptive capacity can and do intersect. In response, this paper reports on findings from a project into public responses to climate change in the Australian Capital Region. It utilises quantitative analysis-in the form of Q methodology-and qualitative analysis, to compare discourses that emerged from individual scenario-based interviews with those that emerged at the end of a 4-day public deliberative process. It shows that while the scenario interviews had an impact on participants, this impact is not sustained. By contrast, the deliberative process gave rise to new discourses, one of which (labelled 'Collective Action Imperative') is argued as indicative of a potentially constructive personal and collective adaptive capacity. However, advocating deliberative processes still requires caution, as less adaptive discourses prevailed, suggesting strong governance signals and leadership are still essential for fostering a positive public response to the challenges of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-971
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Public responses to climate change: The role of deliberation in building capacity for adaptive action'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this