Climate change beliefs and support for development: Testing a cognitive hierarchy of support for natural resource-related economic development in rural Pennsylvania

J. Tom Mueller, Ann R. Tickamyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Economic development in rural areas is commonly tied to the use of natural resources. These uses can be categorized as extractive (e.g. mining, natural gas, and logging) or non-extractive (e.g. real estate, tourism, outdoor recreation, and wind energy). Research has shown local support is crucial for sustainable economic development. Therefore, understanding what drives support can help researchers better understand why some projects succeed where others do not. This becomes increasingly important in the face of global climatic change. Extractive uses of natural resources in rural areas are associated with high volumes of CO2 emissions and will have to be greatly reduced if the United States is to successfully respond to climate change. In their place, non-extractive forms of natural resource development have emerged as possible alternatives in transition. Therefore, understanding the impact of climate change beliefs on support for different forms of natural resource development is beneficial for ensuring equitable plans that reflect the needs and desires of rural residents. Using a cognitive hierarchy framework, we test a model hypothesizing support for extractive or non-extractive development is influenced by climate change beliefs which are influenced by both environmental beliefs and political conservatism. We test our model on a sample of rural Pennsylvanians using structural equation modeling and find mixed support for the model. Notably, anthropocentrism and biocentrism both had positive relationships with both forms of development, refuting hypotheses. Further, belief in anthropogenic climate change had a positive relationship with extractive support, but no relationship with non-extractive support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-566
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume80
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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