What Factors Are Associated with Public Support for Climate Change Adaptation Policy in the U.S.?

Brittany S. Harris and Peter D. Howe
Posted on: 9/15/2023 - Updated on: 9/15/2023

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As climate change impacts increase in frequency and magnitude, policies, and actions to promote climate change adaptation are critical to reduce negative consequences to infrastructure and society. Despite the urgency of adaptation, there have been few systematic efforts to understand the dynamics of public support for adaptation efforts at the local level in the U.S., partly because of the context- and location-specific nature of many adaptation actions.

In this paper we use novel survey data to identify the role of demographics, extreme weather experience, awareness of climate change adaptation, risk perceptions, and perceived efficacy in predicting general support for local climate adaptation policy. We utilize a large national sample of U.S. adults (N = 37,088) collected over 12 waves between 2019 and 2022.

We find that risk perceptions, beliefs about global warming, awareness of climate change adaptation, and perceived efficacy of local governments are key drivers of support for local adaptation policy. We provide policymakers, educators, and communicators with key guidelines for enhancing public support for adaptation policies.

These insights are critical to expanding climate adaptation efforts and policy implementation at the local and national levels in the U.S.


Harris, B.S. and Howe, P.D. (2023). Environmental Research Communication, 5: 091003.