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The moderating role of political affiliation in the link between flooding experience and preparedness to reduce energy use

Abstract

Research suggests that highlighting links between local weather events and climate change can help promote climate change engagement. Yet, the evidence for the relationship between weather experiences and climate change attitudes has been mixed. Here we argue that obtaining an accurate assessment of the contribution of weather experiences to climate change engagement necessitates explicit evaluation of factors such as values and identities that influence the way weather experiences are interpreted and integrated into climate change attitudes. We re-analysed data from a prior study in which reported flood experience was found to be indirectly linked to preparedness to reduce energy use among UK residents. Overall, flood experience was positively linked with perceived vulnerability and negatively linked with uncertainty about climate change, but the purported indirect relationship between flood experience and preparedness to reduce energy use was observed among left- and not right-leaning voters. We concluded that assessing interactions between extreme weather experiences and political affiliation lends valuable nuance to evaluation of the effects of such experiences on climate change perceptions and attitudes. Highlighting links between climate change and flooding may have varying levels of influence on climate change engagement depending on individuals’ political affiliation.

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  1. The full path comparison results are presented in Appendix 1—Supplementary Data

  2. Indeed a significantly greater proportion of right-leaning voters (28.61%) than left-leaning voters (19.73%) indicated that they believe climate change is not happening/not anthropogenic in the current sample (χ 2 (1) = 9.92, p = 0.002).

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Correspondence to Charles Adedayo Ogunbode.

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Ogunbode, C.A., Liu, Y. & Tausch, N. The moderating role of political affiliation in the link between flooding experience and preparedness to reduce energy use. Climatic Change 145, 445–458 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2089-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2089-7