Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
School of Arts and Humanities
Australian National University
We examine Australians’ preferences for resettling people displaced by climate change from overseas (‘climate refugees’), from within Australia (‘internal climate refugees’), and people displaced by war. Across three studies (Study 1N = 467, Study 2N = 1679, Study 3N = 492), our findings reveal greater support for resettling refugee groups already residing in the nation: internal climate refugees and refugees of war. Although support for all three groups was reasonably high, participants were consistently and significantly less supportive of resettling international climate refugees. Both groups of international refugees (relocating due to war or climate changes) were viewed as posing greater threat than internally displaced Australians. Endorsement of right-wing ideological attitudes predicted lower support for climate refugees, which was mediated by symbolic and realistic threat perceptions. These findings highlight the potential of ideology, economic and cultural concerns to undermine support for resettling those displaced by climate change.
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