This research set out to assess the understudied effect of occupational greenhouse gas intensity on climate change skepticism and perceived job insecurity among the lower educated distributed across 21 European countries (N = 12,210). Based on previous research, this study expected occupational greenhouse gas intensity to positively affect climate change skepticism due to commonly held anti-environmentalism values present in the social environment of greenhouse gas intensive sectors. Furthermore, it was expected that this positive relationship could be partially explained by perceived job insecurity, since greenhouse gas intensive sectors might experience economic threat from climate policies. This effect of economic threat was expected to be stronger in a context of strong national commitment to climate change mitigation, since a stronger national commitment makes the direct threat more palpable and makes the societal discourse surrounding climate change and its main perpetrators more salient. By performing multilevel analysis using the data of the European Social Survey (2016), this research concludes that occupational greenhouse gas intensity does not lead to more climate change skepticism and that this relationship is thus not explained by perceived job insecurity. This study did, however, find that a strong national commitment to climate change mitigation leads to more job insecurity among the lower educated active in greenhouse gas intensive sectors. Although the effect is small, it still has important implications with regards to the implementation of climate policy. Politicians and legislators who propose and draft climate policy need to consider and further monitor its effect on job insecurity and climate change skepticism, since ample public support is essential for the successful implementation of climate policy.

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Gijs Custers, Godfried Engbersen
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Oosse, S. (2020, June 20). The Economic Threat of Climate Change: A multilevel analysis of the relationship between occupational greenhouse gas intensity, perceived job insecurity and climate change skepticism among the lower educated in 21 European countries. Sociology. Retrieved from