PhD defence S.P. (Stephen) Groff

The Turbulent Waters of Climate Action: Public trust, public attention and climate policy intractability in developed countries
Prof.dr. W.A. Hafkamp
Dr. P.H.T. Scholten
Thursday 2 Feb 2023, 15:30 - 17:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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S.P. Groff will defend his PhD dissertation on Thursday 2 February 2023, entitled: ’The Turbulent Waters of Climate Action: Public trust, public attention and climate policy intractability in developed countries‘.


This summary is an effort to provide narrative grounding for a series of articles aimed at addressing the question: How do media coverage and trust in government influence public perception and support for climate policy action? While chapters one through ten are an exposition written within the confines of a more traditional academic structure, this introductory summary is more of a narrative exploration of the author’s inspiration and the process by which he arrived at the research question and conclusions. Albert Einstein is thought to have said: “Except in mathematics, the shortest distance between point A and point B is seldom a straight line.” This is very much true in the case of exploring the forces that influence climate policy action. The author’s motivation emerges from the conundrum that progress on climate policy seems more difficult in some countries and less so in others. The initial hypothesis was that a lack of comparable statistics – specifically data that allowed for measurement of a country’s “commitment to climate” – was at the source. If an index could be developed that leveraged the Paris Agreement’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and other country-level public data, this would enable an objective ranking of countries and “shame” poorer performing countries into adopting more ambitious climate policies. The author understood that an index alone wouldn’t change policy but believed that it could help nudge some countries in the “right” direction.

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The public defence will begin exactly at 15.30 hrs. The doors will be closed once the public defence starts, latecomers may be able to watch on the screen outside. There is no possibility of entrance during the first part of the ceremony. Due to the solemn nature of the ceremony, we recommend that you do not take children under the age of 6 to the first part of the ceremony.

A live stream link has been provided to the candidate.

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