Vulnerability and capacity: explaining local commitment to climate-change policy Academic Article uri icon


  • We examine the reasons why a US locality would voluntarily commit to the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) campaign. Using geographic information systems analytic techniques, we map and measure a locality's vulnerability to climate-change impacts at the county level of spatial precision. We analyze multiple measures of climate-change vulnerability, including expected temperature change, extreme weather events, and coastal proximity, as well as economic variables, demographic variables, and civic-participation variables that constitute a locality's socioeconomic capacity to commit to costly climate-change policy initiatives. Bivariate and logistic regression results indicate that CCP-committed localities are quantitatively different to noncommitted localities on both climate-change risk and socioeconomic-capacity dimensions. On vulnerability measures, the odds of CCP-campaign participation increase significantly with the number of people killed and injured by extreme weather events, projected temperature change, and coastal proximity. On socioeconomic-capacity measures, the odds of CCP-campaign involvement increase with the percentage of citizens that vote Democrat and recycle, as well as the number of nonprofit organizations with an environment focus. The odds decrease in a county area as the percentage of the labor force employed in carbon-intensive industries increases.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Zahran, S., Brody, S. D., Vedlitz, A., Grover, H., & Miller, C.

citation count

  • 175

complete list of authors

  • Zahran, Sammy||Brody, Samuel D||Vedlitz, Arnold||Grover, Himanshu||Miller, Caitlyn

publication date

  • June 2008