Come rain or shine? Public expectation on local weather change and differential effects on climate change attitude

Alex Y. Lo, C. Y. Jim

Tailored messages are instrumental to climate change communication. Information about the global threat can be ‘localised’ by demonstrating its linkage with local events. This research ascertains the relationship between climate change attitude and perception of local weather, based on a survey involving 800 Hong Kong citizens. Results indicate that concerns about climate change increase with expectations about the likelihood and impacts of local weather change. Climate change believers attend to all three types of adverse weather events, namely, temperature rises, tropical cyclones and prolonged rains. Climate scepticism, however, is not associated with expectation about prolonged rains. Differential spatial orientations are a possible reason. Global climate change is an unprecedented and distant threat, whereas local rain is a more familiar and localised weather event. Global climate change should be articulated in terms that respect local concerns. Localised framing may be particularly effective for engaging individuals holding positive views about climate change science.

Link (Supplemental data is also available here)

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