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Searching for the determinants of climate change interest
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Faculty Publications
  • Patrick Cavanagh, University of Rhode Island
  • Corey Lang, University of Rhode Island
  • Xinran Li, University of Rhode Island
  • Haoran Miao, University of Rhode Island
  • John David Ryder, University of Rhode Island
Document Type
Date of Original Version
A meaningful CO2 mitigation policy is unlikely at the national level in the United States. What is currently happening and what is much more likely to occur in the future is city and regional level efforts of mitigation and adaptation. This paper aims to understand the geographic and socioeconomic characteristics of metropolitan areas and regions that lead to engagement with the issue of climate change. We use geographically explicit, internet search data from Google to measure information seeking behavior, which we take to translate into engagement, attention and interest. Our spatial hotspot analysis creates a map that potentially could be harnessed by policymakers to gauge mitigation support or adaptation potential. The results of our multivariate analysis suggest that socioeconomic factors are the strongest determinants of search behavior and that climate and geography have little to no impact. With regard to political ideology, we find evidence of a non-linear, inverse-U relationship with maximum search activity occurring in metropolitan areas with a near even political split, suggesting parity may be good for engagement.
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Citation Information

Patrick Cavanagh, Corey Lang, Xinran Li, Haoran Misao, and John David Ryder. "Searching for the Determinants of Climate Change Interest." Geography Journal, vol. 2014, Article ID 503295, 11 pages.

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