Burger
Journalpaper

Attitudes of young scholars in Qingdao and Hamburg about climate change and climate policy – The role of culture for the explanation of differences

Abstract

This article analyses differences in the attitudes related to climate change of young scholars in environmental science in Qingdao (China) and Hamburg (Germany). The main aim of the article is to evaluate the role of cultural differences for their explanation. We expect no significant differences in the attitudes related to the findings of climate research, since scientific principles are the joint basis of the scientific discourse wordwide. However, we expect that there are differences in the attitudes of the young scholars about the role of science, of the state and of the civil society for dealing with the challenge of climate change. We suggest that these can be explained with substantial cultural differences between both societies, with regard to the role of the state and the civil society for the solution of environmental problems. In order to evaluate these hypotheses, we have conducted a comparative survey among environmental science students in Qingdao (China) and Hamburg (Germany) about their attitudes towards climate change. The findings support our main hypotheses. The young scholars in Qingdao and Hamburg differ substantially in their views of the role of science in society and policymaking. Plausibly, these differences may mainly be explained with differences in the cultural ideas about the role of the state and of the civil society for the solution of environmental problems. Gradual differences in the share of young scholars who think that climate change has anthropogenic causes, may be explained with differences in the curriculum but also by cultural habits. This article makes a new contribution to the scientific debate by exploring the role of cultural differences for differences in the attitudes of young scholars in environmental science in connection with climate change and climate policy in different cultural contexts.
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