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Social capital and the public acceptability of climate change adaptation policies: a case study in Romney Marsh, UK
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:27 authored by Nikoleta Jones, Julian R. A. Clark
There is now a growing literature emphasizing the critical importance of social variables in the formulation of coastal management policies seeking to tackle climate change impacts. This paper focuses on the role of social capital, which is increasingly identified as having a significant role in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. We focus on public perceptions of the social costs and benefits arising from two management options (managed retreat/realignment and hold-the-line), the resulting level of policy acceptability, and how this acceptability is mediated by social capital parameters within coastal communities. These issues are examined by means of a quantitative social survey implemented in Romney Marsh (east Sussex/Kent, UK), an area facing significant impacts from climate change. We tested two models through path analysis with latent structures. The first correlates respondents’ perceived costs and benefits with the level of public acceptability of the two policy options. In the second model, we introduce social capital variables, investigating the impacts on perceived social costs and benefits of the policy options, and the overall effect on the level of public acceptability. Our findings demonstrate: (1) perceived social costs and benefits of proposed policy options influence the level of public acceptability of these policies; (2) these social costs and benefits are connected with the level of public acceptability; and (3) specific social capital parameters (i.e. social trust, institutional trust, social networks and social reciprocity) influence perceived policy costs and benefits, and also have a significant impact on the level of public acceptability of proposed policy options.
Publication titleClimatic Change