The perceived risks of local climate change in Queenstown, New Zealand
Place-embedded, resource-dependent industries are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The scientific framing of these risks can be understood through modelling; however, risks are perceived by non-scientific communities in more culturally relevant and localised frames. This empirical study utilised qualitative, semi-structured interviews with four stakeholder groups connected to the ski industry in Queenstown, New Zealand. The objectives of this research were to identify current scientific knowledge on climate change risks to Queenstown's ski industry and to critically address how the risk of climate change is perceived. This paper reports three main findings: (1) scientific reporting and expert interviews expect climate change to manifest as inter-annual variability up to the 2050s, (2) current climatic variability is perceived to be the greatest risk to the ski industry at present and (3) climate change is perceived to be distant and a greater threat to other people and other places giving rise to ‘optimistic bias’.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: © 2013 Taylor & Francis
Keywords: Climate Change; risk perceptions; tourism; New Zealand; optimistic bias
Research Type: Journal Article