Flood Sensitivity, Risk Perception, and Support for Climate Action in the United States

15 December 2021, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Despite increasing evidence of the effects of climate change and scientific consensus about its threat, significant political barriers to climate action remain in the US. American public opinion about climate change is generally perceived as stable and sharply divided along partisan lines. However, less is known about the relationship between flood sensitivity and public opinion about climate change. Combining the ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment data of American cities with public opinion data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, this paper demonstrates the positive association between flood sensitivity and beliefs about climate change, risk perceptions, and support for climate action. These results have important implications for the understanding of public opinion about climate change, suggesting that flood sensitivity shapes perceptions of climate change. The results also have important implications for advocates of political action, suggesting that making flood sensitivity salient could help mobilize public support for climate action.


public opinion
flood sensitivity
risk perception
climate change
climate action


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