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Extreme weather experiences and climate change beliefs in China: An econometric analysis

Dai, Jing, Kesternich, Martin, Löschel, Andreas, Ziegler, Andreas
Ecological economics 2015 v.116 pp. 310-321
adults, cities, econometrics, education, environmental policy, females, global warming, income, people, surveys, weather, China, United States
This paper examines the extent and the determinants of global climate change beliefs. In contrast to former studies for the U.S. and other western countries, we focus on China due to its crucial role in international climate policy in conjunction with its vulnerability to global warming. The empirical analysis is based on unique data from a survey among more than 1000 adults in five Chinese cities. In line with former studies, our results reveal that the vast majority of almost 90% of the Chinese respondents believes in the existence of global warming. This seems to be a convenient and necessary basis for the support of costly public adaptation activities in China. Our econometric analysis reveals that already perceived experiences with extreme weather events (and particularly heatwaves) alone are strongly correlated with climate change beliefs and that physical or financial damages due to these events lead to even stronger relationships. Our estimation results additionally suggest females as well as people with a lower education, in medium ages, with higher household incomes, and from Chengdu or Shenyang to be more skeptical toward the existence of climate change.