Is a Rights-Based Approach to Climate Action Viable? Clarifying Longitudinal Relations between Individuals’ Support for Human Rights and Climate Change Beliefs
50 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2021 Last revised: 8 Dec 2021
The devastating effects of climate change on human rights has led the United Nations to recommend a human rights-based approach to climate action. However, no research has examined the relations between support for human rights and climate change beliefs, which is critical if such a rights-based approach is to receive widespread public backing. Here we investigate the cross-sectional and longitudinal relations between support for human rights and climate change beliefs/concern with data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study ( N ≈ 17,656) and a combination of variable- and person-centred analyses. Cross-lagged results indicate that support for the broader human rights item about the right to food, clothing, housing and medicine, had a bidirectional, longitudinal relationship with climate change beliefs/concern, relative to support for the economic-focused human rights item. Latent profile analysis revealed six distinct subgroups of New Zealanders, with climate change beliefs/concern differing between subgroups but with human rights support being consistently high. Lastly, latent transition analysis revealed that all but one of these distinct profiles were relatively unstable across the one-year period, but New Zealanders tended to move from profiles of lower to higher levels of climate beliefs/concern. Findings reveal novel implications for a rights-based climate change response.
Keywords: Climate Change, Human Rights, attitudes, United Nations, NZAVS, Māori, New Zealand
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