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Jun 182014

Transworld Paper No. 31

by Darina Peycheva, Jana Pötzschke, Theron Delano Hall and Hans Rattinger

This paper compares mass and elite perceptions of environmental issues in the United States, the European Union, and Turkey. It covers four topics related to the importance of the issue area, general attitudes, the role of individuals and in istitutions as well as policy instruments aiming to manage environmental problems.
Drawing on survey data from the last decade, there is no doubt that environmental problems are taken seriously in the US and Europe. However, personal concerns and environmental friendly attitudes can hardly be translated into concrete actions if these require financial contribution.
Americans, nevertheless, appear somewhat more likely to make personal expenses for the environment than Europeans. While in general the EU is perceived as not doing enough for environmental problems, it seems to be delivering more than the American stakeholders. Turning to
policy instruments, there is broad support for a wide range of actions which do not differ drastically among Europeans or Americans, the public or elites. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a target policy aim and specific instruments are already under consideration.