After storms, a short different opinion span on climate change
(10 months ago)
Washington D.C. [USA], Sep 08 : People, who have recently experienced severe weather events such as floods, storms and drought, are more likely to support policies to adapt to the effects of climate change, suggests a new study.
According to researchers from Indiana University in the U.S., the relationship between exposure to extreme weather and support for climate policies is small.
Lead author David Konisky said that the people do respond to recent weather, whether temperature spikes or severe storms strike, but the effects are small. "Extreme weather is much less significant than other factors when it comes to attitudes about climate."
It seems that people, who experience extreme weather, would make people more supportive of policies to adapt to climate change.
The study suggested that supportive policies may happen, but only for the short term and not to the extent that may have been expected.
The researchers examined survey responses from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study and correlated them with data from the National Weather Service's Storm Events Database.
They focused on three policies for climate adaptation: restrictions on coastal development, limits on outdoor residential water use and regulation of stormwater runoff from residential property.
All three policies enjoyed considerable support, but respondents who had experienced recent extreme weather expressed only modestly stronger support than other respondents.
The researchers also looked for correlations between extreme weather events and support for policies to adapt to those particular events -- for example, coastal flooding and restrictions on coastal development. There too, they found only modest correlations.
The study included a wide variety of severe weather events, Konisky said, and its findings may not entirely apply to headline-grabbing events like the Texas flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey or the threat to Florida by Hurricane Irma.
However, it suggested that even catastrophic weather may not change attitudes as much as many people expect.
The research appears in journal of Global Environmental Change