Extreme weather events and climate change concern
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- Konisky, D.M., Hughes, L. & Kaylor, C.H. Climatic Change (2016) 134: 533. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1555-3
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This paper examines whether experience of extreme weather events—such as excessive heat, droughts, flooding, and hurricanes—increases an individual’s level concern about climate change. We bring together micro-level geospatial data on extreme weather events from NOAA’s Storm Events Database with public opinion data from multiple years of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to study this question. We find evidence of a modest, but discernible positive relationship between experiencing extreme weather activity and expressions of concern about climate change. However, the effect only materializes for recent extreme weather activity; activity that occurred over longer periods of time does not affect public opinion. These results are generally robust to various measurement strategies and model specifications. Our findings contribute to the public opinion literature on the importance of local environmental conditions on attitude formation.