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Experience of extreme weather affects climate change mitigation and adaptation responses

Demski, Christina, Capstick, Stuart, Pidgeon, Nick, Sposato, Robert Gennaro and Spence, Alexa 2017. Experience of extreme weather affects climate change mitigation and adaptation responses. Climatic Change 140 (2) , pp. 149-164. 10.1007/s10584-016-1837-4

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The winter of 2013/2014 saw a series of severe storms hit the UK, leading to widespread flooding, a major emergency response and extensive media exposure. Previous research indicates that experiencing extreme weather events has the potential to heighten engagement with climate change, however the process by which this occurs remains largely unknown, and establishing a clear causal relationship from experience to perceptions is methodologically challenging. The UK winter flooding offered a natural experiment to examine this question in detail. We compare individuals personally affected by flooding (n=162) to a nationally representative sample (n=975). We show that direct experience of flooding leads to an overall increased salience of climate change, pronounced emotional responses and greater perceived personal vulnerability and risk perceptions. We also present the first evidence that direct flooding experience can give rise to behavioural intentions beyond individual sustainability actions, including support for mitigation policies, and personal climate adaptation in matters unrelated to the direct experience.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0165-0009
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 October 2016
Date of Acceptance: 3 October 2016
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 14:45

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