Effects of Educational Attainment on Climate Risk Vulnerability
Erich Striessnig, WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria; Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), Vienna, Austria; WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria
Anthony G Patt, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
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In the context of still uncertain specific effects of climate change in specific locations, this paper examines whether education significantly increases coping capacity with regard to particular climatic changes, and whether it improves the resilience of people to climate risks in general. Our hypothesis is that investment in universal primary and secondary education around the world is the most effective strategy for preparing to cope with the still uncertain dangers associated with future climate. The empirical evidence presented for a cross-country time series of factors associated with past natural disaster fatalities since 1980 in 125 countries confirms this overriding importance of education in reducing impacts. We also present new projections of populations by age, sex, and level of educational attainment to 2050, thus providing an appropriate tool for anticipating societies’ future adaptive capacities based on alternative education scenarios associated with different policies.
adaptive capacity; climate change; education; natural disasters; vulnerability
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087