Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 259–268 | Cite as

Climate change and extreme weather in the USA: discourse analysis and strategies for an emerging ‘public’

  • Adam Smith
  • Katie JenkinsEmail author


This paper discusses how economic impacts of extreme weather events in the USA could, and are, leading to the creation of an ‘extreme weather public’ whose discourse has the opportunity to break the deadlock currently surrounding issues of State and Federal adaptation strategies. By taking an interdisciplinary perspective and combining literature on the formation of publics, the political and economic impacts of extreme weather, and popular discourse in the US climate debate, this paper demonstrates how extreme weather events can gather politically powerful and influential actors and how those actors might use their status to interact with current forms of climate change discourse. Special emphasis is paid to the ways in which a focus on the economic impacts of weather extremes could avoid many of the current ‘framing traps’ laid by climate ‘sceptics’ and move the debate towards more proactive adaptive action in the USA’ most vulnerable regions.


Extreme weather Publics Public opinion Disaster losses Climate change Adaptation 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern California EdisonRosemeadUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the EnvironmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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