Has environmental awareness increased? Attitudes of the Icelandic public towards environmental issues and heavy industry 1987-2017

Authors

  • Sóllilja Bjarnadóttir
  • Inga Rún Sæmundsdóttir
  • Sigrún Ólafsdóttir
  • Þorvarður Árnason
  • Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2021.17.1.3

Keywords:

Environmental affairs, Heavy industry, The Icelandic National Election study (ICENES).

Abstract

The significance of environmental issues in the Icelandic public debate has increased in recent decades. Until now, it has not been possible to empirically examine whether this increased debate reflects a development towards a change in attitudes among the Icelandic public. The data from the Icelandic National Election Study (ICENES) shows an apparent long-term change in attitudes towards environmental issues over the past thirty years (1987-2017). Here, we analyze the results of two questions from ICENES. Firstly, we investigate attitudes concerning whether environmental issues should take precedence over efforts to increase economic growth, and, secondly, views on whether the government should place great or little emphasis on heavy industry. Similar changes are seen over time; the proportion of those who want to prioritize environmental issues increases year by year (with one exception immediately after the economic crisis), and the proportion of those who want the government to emphasize heavy industry decreases. The last survey (2017) found that 65% of respondents prioritized environmental issues above economic growth, and 80% wanted the government to place little emphasis on heavy industry. People who identified with a left political party where more likely to emphasize environmental issues whereas those who identified with a right political party where more likely to emphasize heavy industry.

Author Biographies

Sóllilja Bjarnadóttir

MA in Socialogy. Doctoral student, University of Iceland.

Inga Rún Sæmundsdóttir

MSc in Sociophysiology. Program Manager at the Social Science Research Institute, University of Iceland.

Sigrún Ólafsdóttir

Professor, University of Iceland.

Þorvarður Árnason

Associate Research Professor at University of Iceland and Director of Hornafjordur Research Centre, University of Iceland.

Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir

Director of the Social Science Research Institute, University of Iceland.

Published

2021-06-21

How to Cite

Bjarnadóttir, S., Sæmundsdóttir, I. R., Ólafsdóttir, S., Árnason, Þorvarður, & Jónsdóttir, G. A. (2021). Has environmental awareness increased? Attitudes of the Icelandic public towards environmental issues and heavy industry 1987-2017. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 17(1), 49–78. https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2021.17.1.3

Issue

Section

Peer Reviewed Articles