Climate Change has long become an eminent global problem, with potentially disastrous, manifold and widespread impacts. Two major strategies in response to this issue have been proposed: mitigation and adaptation. While traditionally the focus has been on the former, recent years have seen a substantial shift towards more balanced attention to both. This transition arises from the realisation that we will continue to experience the effects of climate change, even if the global community enacted the greatest possible mitigation efforts. In this light scholars will have to address the essential question of what drives people to engage in and support both adaptation and mitigation measures. This question is central to the present study as it pushes for an integrative approach by looking at both climate change response strategies conjointly.

An online survey was conducted sampling 288 participants living along the coast of the Severn Estuary and the Inner Bristol Channel area. Building on Value Belief Norm theory and including a range of cognitive, value, affective, socio-demographic and contextual measures, the present study investigated predictor patterns for adaptation and mitigation intentions and policy support. The first result relates to the outcome measures themselves. The expected division into support for adaptation and mitigation policies was not confirmed in an exploratory factor analysis, suggesting that three policy support dimensions, namely support for adaptation policies, non-stringent policies and stringent policies, represent a substantially better fit. Correlational analysis indicated that all outcome measures, with the exception of stringent policy support and adaptation intention, were significantly and positively related. Consequently five multiple regression models were calculated. Results indicated that the applied theoretical framework seemed to work equally well for all outcome measures, except for support for stringent policies; with percentages of explained variance ranging from 24% to 34%.Patterns of predictors varied between behaviour intentions and policy support but also between adaptation and mitigation measures. Particularly surprising was that climate change scepticism was the strongest significant and positive predictor of adaptation intentions, while it did not yield any effect for mitigation intentions. Other noteworthy results include the relative importance of emotional engagement and personal efficacy, in particular for the intention measures; the fact that support for adaptation policies increased with perceived distance from the coastline; and the finding that out of various concern measures (sea level rise and climate change concern, for the self, society and world) sea level rise concern for the self was the strongest predictor of adaptation intentions.

The discussion first addresses the idea of trade-off effects between adaptation and mitigation for both support and intention. Based on the finding of significant and positive correlations for almost all combinations of outcome measures we dismiss this line of thought and argue for an integrative approach to both strategies. We do however acknowledge and reiterate the differences in predictor patterns overall.These differences and the somewhat surprising results for individual predictors are consequently discussed with regards to alternative theoretical explanations. This feeds into an overall revision of the applied theoretical framework and the proposal of a more refined research model.