Proximity to Coast Is Linked to Climate Change Belief

by Sam Peterson

Despite increasingly contrasting and polarizing environmental beliefs between major political parties in many developed countries, there has been diminishing speculation in recent years regarding the existence of climate change as a scientific consensus builds. Though politicians may argue the merits of recognizing climate change as an immediate problem, the individuals bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change are those in regions that are reliant on specific weather patterns and temperature limitations. To examine how belief in climate change within the populace of developed countries is affected, in 2013, Milfont et. al. analyzed the relationship between indvidual’s physical proximity to coastlines in New Zealand and their belief in climate change. They found that in a national probability sample of 5,815 New Zealanders, people living in closer proximity to shorelines exhibited greater belief in climate change and “greater support for government regulation of carbon dioxide emissions,” and found that the proximity effect “held when adjusting for height above sea level and regional poverty,” in addition to respondent’s sex, age, education, political orientation, and wealth. The authors conclude that proximity to coastlines directly correlates with ones belief in climate change, possibly the direct effects are more “concrete and local.” Continue reading