Article entitled “From abstract futures to concrete experiences: How does political ideology interact with threat perception to affect climate adaptation decisions?”, co-authored with Sophie Kelmenson, Todd K. BenDor, and Danielle Spurlock, has been accepted for publication with Environmental Science & Policy! Abstract below:
Climate change forecasts predict impacts that will increasingly expose coastal residents to existential risks, necessitating aggressive adaptation. While the polarization of climate change attitudes in American politics represents a barrier to climate adaptation efforts, it is not well-understood how political ideology mediates how individuals connect the abstract concept of “climate change” to concrete experiences with environmental risks. Understanding this link in the context of adaptation decision-making is important, as the effects of many, household-level adaptation efforts compound over space and time, affecting community flood risk and vulnerability. This paper asks, how do political ideologies interact with threat perception to affect coastal climate adaptation decisions? We frame this analysis using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and Protection Motivation Theory (PMT). Using responses from a survey of residents (n = 164) in North Carolina’s (USA) Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula, we examine how measures of residents’ subjective norms, threat-appraisals, and self-efficacy influence their intent to retreat or topographically adapt. We find that, despite political polarization around climate change, generally, when given concrete examples of risk, respondents’ political beliefs appear unrelated to their plans to protect their property and livelihoods.