FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2016 .053

Do Extreme Weather Events Generate Attention to Climate Change?


Authors: Matthew R. Sisco, Valentina Bosetti, Elke U. Weber
Series: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways
Editor: Massimo Tavoni
Keywords: Climate Attention, Social Media, Extreme Weather
JEL n.: Q54, C81, D80

Abstract

We analyzed the effects of 10,748 weather events on attention to climate change between December 2011 and November 2014 in local areas across the United States. Attention was gauged by quantifying the relative increase in Twitter messages about climate change in the local area around the time of each event. Coastal floods, droughts, wildfires, strong wind, hail, excessive heat, extreme cold, and heavy snow events all had detectable effects. Attention was reliably higher directly after events began, compared to directly before. This suggests that actual experiences with extreme weather events are driving the increases in attention to climate change, beyond the purely descriptive information provided by the weather forecasts directly beforehand. Financial damage associated with the weather events had a positive and significant effect on attention, although the effect was small. The abnormality of each weather event’s occurrence compared to local historical activity was also a significant predictor. In particular and in line with past research, relative abnormalities in temperature (“local warming”) generated attention to climate change. In contrast, wind speed was predictive of attention to climate change in absolute levels. These results can be useful to predict short-term attention to climate change for strategic climate communications, and to better forecast long-term climate policy support.

***

Suggested citation: Sisco, M. R., V. Bosetti, E. U. Weber, (2016), 'Do Extreme Weather Events Generate Attention to Climate Change?', Nota di Lavoro 53.2016, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Download file
Download PDF file
links
Link
Watch the video presentation by FEEM researcher V. Bosetti

FEEM Update

Subscribe to stay connected.

Your personal data will be processed by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. – data Controller – with the aim of emailing the FEEM newsletter. The use of Your email address is necessary for the implementation of the newsletter service. You are invited to read the Privacy Policy in order to obtain additional information about the protection of Your rights.

This Website uses technical cookies and cookie analytics, as well as “third party” profiling cookies.
If you close this banner or you decide to continue navigating on this Website, you express consent to the use of cookies. If you need additional information or you wish to express selective choices on the use of cookies, please refer to the   Cookie PolicyI agree