Understanding political climate passivity in Sweden and the US

Climate anxiety is widespread across Western democracies. Still, most adults do not voice their concerns by speaking up politically. Why? Inspired by political science and social psychology research, we introduce the overarching Climate Passivity Model (CPM), allowing more over-arching conclusions: is passivity mainly due to the fact that citizens can’t (resources), won’t (motivations) or feel they should not (norms) participate?

Our multidisciplinary and international research group will focus on Sweden in particular, but also the US. These two cases are likely to unveil a wide range of causes for climate passivity, due to considerable dissimilarities in levels of political polarization, climate denial, and fossil fuel dependency. Survey data will be collected including, for example, different kinds of survey experiments.

Scientifically the project should break new ground, as little is known about the determinants of political climate passivity.

Principal investigator Per Adman: 

- Many citizens worry about the climate crisis, but few are active in climate politics. We want to find out why this is the case. Have people in general given up on politicians' ability to solve the crisis? Or is participation obstructed by social norms, e.g., regarding preferred lifestyles or by certain attitudes towards nature?

Principal Investigator: Per Adman

Period: 2023–2025

Funding: SEK 3 000 000 from Formas

Per Adman

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Government, Faculty

+4618-471 3415

Research Group

Per Adman (principal investigator), Department of Government, Uppsala University

Kirsti Jylhä, Institute for Future Studies

Nazita Lajevardi, Departent of Political Science, Michigan State University

Johan Wejryd, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

Last modified: 2023-02-06