What Butterfly Effect? The Contextual Differences in Public Perceptions of the Health Risk Posed by Climate Change Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 by the authors. One of the most difficult aspects of persuading the public to support climate change policy is the lack of recognition that climate change will likely have a direct impact on an individual's life. Anecdotal evidence and arguments within the media suggest that those who are skeptical of climate change are more likely to believe that the negative externalities associated with climate change will be experienced by others, and, therefore, are not a concern to that individual. This project examines public perceptions of the health risk posed by climate change. Using a large national public opinion survey of adults in the United States, respondents were asked to evaluate the health risk for themselves, their community, the United States, and the world. The results suggest that individuals evaluate the risk for each of these contexts differently. Statistical analyses are estimated to identify the determinants of each risk perception to identify their respective differences. The implications of these findings on support for climate change policy are discussed.

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Stoutenborough, J. W., Kirkpatrick, K. J., Field, M. J., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • August 2015