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Experiencing a severe weather event increases concern about climate change

Journal article
Authors Magnus Bergquist
Andreas Nilsson
P. Wesley Schultz
Published in Frontiers in Psychology
Volume 10
ISSN 16641078
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019....
Keywords Attitudes, Environmental concerns, Extreme weather and climate events, Hurrican, Pro-environmental, Repeated-measure
Subject categories Environmental psychology, Applied Psychology, Psychology

Abstract

Climate change is primarily driven by human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and may therefore be mitigated by changes to human behavior (Clayton et al., 2015; IPCC, 2018). Despite efforts to raise awareness and concern about climate change, GHG emissions continue to rise (IPCC, 2018). Climate change seems to be at odds with the immediate, present threats to which humans are adapted to cope (Gifford et al., 2009; Schultz, 2014; van Vugt et al., 2014). In contrast to immediate dangers, climate change is typically abstract, large scale, slow and often unrelated to the welfare of our daily lives (e.g., Ornstein and Ehrlich, 1989; Gifford, 2011). But there are moments when the consequences of climate change are readily apparent, such as extreme weather events. In the current paper, we examine the impact of personal experience with an extreme weather event, and the impact of this experience on beliefs about climate change, and intentions to take actions that can help prepare for and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

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