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Public perception of climate change in a period of economic crisis in Puerto Rico

María Santos-Corrada Rafael Méndez-Tejeda

*Corresponding author: María Santos-Corrada msantos@suagm.edu

environmental2017,1,83doi:10.3934/environsci.2017.1.83

In this study, an analysis is performed to measure Puerto Rican citizens’ perceptions of environmental issues and global climate change (GCC). Puerto Rico (PR) is presently facing an economic crisis that began in 2010. In addition, the island has faced many extreme weather events that have greatly impacted the economy, including a dry period that lasted from the beginning of 2014 until the end of 2015 [1]. By replicating a study done in Greece (GR), [2] found that the citizens of PR are more informed about GCC (43%) than Greeks (34%). However, only 29% of Puerto Ricans said they knew about the effects of greenhouse gases, as compared to 44% of Greeks. The citizens of PR (67%) and GR (91%) claim they do not have confidence that their respective governments and agencies will be able to face GCC. In both cases, they have a higher confidence level in environmental organizations than in the scientific community. In PR, 89% of the citizens are concerned about the degradation of natural resources. At 64%, this concern is also significant in the case of GR, although the figure has decreased from previous years. Both countries place more responsibility in the hands of those in government and industry to take action on GCC. That being said, the people of GR have made it known they are willing to perform individual actions as well.

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