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Do flood and heatwave experiences shape climate opinion? Causal evidence from flooding and heatwaves in England and Wales

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Kontoleon, A 

Abstract

Understanding how personal experience of extreme weather events raises awareness and concern about climate change has important policy implications. It has repeatedly been argued that proximising climate change through extreme weather events holds a promising strategy to increase engagement with the issue and encourage climate change action. In this paper, we exploit geo-referenced panel data on climate change attitudes as well as natural variation in flood and heatwave exposure in England and Wales to estimate the causal effect of extreme weather events on climate change attitudes and environmental behaviours using a difference-in-differences matching approach. Our findings suggest that personal experience with both flooding and heatwaves significantly increases risk perception towards climate change impacts but has no effect on climate change concern or pro-environmental behaviour, on average. Moreover, the findings indicate that the effect of flooding on risk perception is highly localised and diminishes over time. For heatwaves, we find that the effect on risk perception is driven by the recent salient summer heatwaves of 2018 and 2019. Having experienced both events also significantly increases climate change concern and pro-environmental behaviour, in addition to risk perception

Description

Keywords

Journal Title

Environmental and Resource Economics

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0924-6460
1573-1502

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer
Sponsorship
We acknowledge financial support by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC 1801783) and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for one of the authors

Version History

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VersionDateSummary
2023-08-03 14:38:16
Published version added
1*
2023-07-11 23:32:42
* Selected version