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Extreme weather events and public support for climate change policy

Published: 7 October 2020

Researchers: Prof. Simon Matti (Political Science, LTU), Dr. Stefan Linde (Political Science, Mid-Sweden University)
Financier: Formas, 2020-2022

Extreme weather events, such as wildfires, droughts, and blizzards, has been argued to have a potential for ‘triggering’ an increased level of concern for climate change among the public. Such effects could also prove to be invaluable in assuring the public support needed for the effective implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation policy. The extent to which this is true is, however, uncertain, and findings from previous research have produced mixed results. In the proposed project, we investigate how extreme weather events affect public attitudes towards climate change policy. We propose that the effectiveness of extreme weather to trigger increased public support is dependent on three main factors: (1) the type and severity of event, (2) personal predispositions, such as personal values and ideology, and (3) the framing and communication of extreme events in the public discourse. In order to investigate the proposed relationships, we employ a mixed-methods approach, combining a longitudinal analysis, incorporating both survey and meteorological data, with a number of web-based survey experiments. Overall, we believe that the results will be of considerable importance, both from a theoretical perspective and from a practical policy making perspective.

Simon Matti

Simon Matti, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 492332
Organisation: Political Science, Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts