Voting for Tomorrow: Climate Change, Environmental Concern, and Green Voting
Dondena Working Paper Series n.146 (2021)
61 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 17, 2021
In the past decade, the world has witnessed increased climate change impacts with many countries experiencing more frequent and more severe climate extremes. With public support being fundamental in scaling up climate action, here, we analyze the impact of exposure to climate extremes on environmental concern and Green voting for a large panel of European countries. Combining high-resolution climatological data with regionally aggregated and harmonized information on environmental concern (42 Eurobarometer surveys, 2002-2019, 34 countries) and European Parliamentary electoral outcomes (7 elections, 1990-2019, 28 countries) at the subnational level, we find a significant and sizeable effect of temperature anomalies, heat episodes and dry spells in the previous 12 months on green concern and voting. The effects differ significantly by region and are most pronounced in regions with a cooler Continental or temperate Atlantic climate, and weaker in regions with a warmer Mediterranean climate. The relationship is moderated by regional GDP suggesting that climate change experience increase public support for climate action only under favorable economic conditions. By empirically documenting the important role of contextual influences and regional differences on green concern and voting, our findings have important implications for the current efforts to promote and implement climate actions in line with the Paris Agreement.
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