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Title: How will climate change shape climate opinion?

As climate change intensifies, global publics will experience more unusual weather and extreme weather events. How will individual experiences with these weather trends shape climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors? In this article, we review 73 papers that have studied the relationship between climate change experiences and public opinion. Overall, we find mixed evidence that weather shapes climate opinions. Although there is some support for a weak effect of local temperature and extreme weather events on climate opinion, the heterogeneity of independent variables, dependent variables, study populations, and research designs complicate systematic comparison. To advance research on this critical topic, we suggest that future studies pay careful attention to differences between self-reported and objective weather data, causal identification, and the presence of spatial autocorrelation in weather and climate data. Refining research designs and methods in future studies will help us understand the discrepancies in results, and allow better detection of effects, which have important practical implications for climate communication. As the global population increasingly experiences weather conditions outside the range of historical experience, researchers, communicators, and policymakers need to understand how these experiences shape-and are shaped by-public opinions and behaviors.

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Award ID(s):
1633756 1753082
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 113001
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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