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Climate change beliefs shape the interpretation of forest fire events

Author(s): Karine Lacroix, Robert Gifford, Jonathan Rush
Year Published: 2020

Using a naturalistic quasi-experimental design and growth curve modeling techniques, a recently proposed climate change risk perception model was replicated and extended to investigate changes in climate change risk perception and climate policy support in relation to exposure to forest fires. At the start of the study, above-average indirect exposure to forest fires (e.g., through media and conversations) was associated with stronger climate change risk perception, but direct exposure to forest fires (e.g., seeing smoke) and other types of extreme weather events was not. Over time, changes in climate change risk perception were positively associated with changes in climate policy support. However, individual differences in growth trajectories occurred. For example, in this naturalistic setting without any intervention, the climate change risk perceptions of individuals with weaker perceptions of scientific agreement on climate change were less likely to be positively influenced by fire exposure than those of individuals with stronger perceptions of scientific agreement. These findings highlight the importance of tailoring climate change communication.

Citation: Lacroix, Karine; Gifford, Robert; Rush, Jonathan. 2020. Climate change beliefs shape the interpretation of forest fire events. Climatic Change 159(1):103-120.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Fire & Climate
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20957
FRAMES RCS number: 60411
Record updated: Apr 8, 2020