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Climate change communication from cities in the USA

  • Constantine Boussalis
  • Travis G. Coan
  • Mirya R. Holman
Article

Abstract

Cities in the USA engage in action on climate change, even as the federal government remains resistant to comprehensive climate policy. While experts generally agree that local level adaptation and mitigation policies are critical to avoiding the worst climate impacts, the degree to which cities communicate climate change issues to their constituents has yet to be fully explored. In this article, we evaluate how US cities communicate climate change-related issues, problems, and policies. We use a computer-assisted approach to evaluate climate change efforts by cities by examining the full text of press releases of 82 large cities in the USA. We first identify who discusses climate change, finding that many large cities in the USA address climate change in their public communication. Second, we examine the content of these discussions. Many cities discuss weather-related concerns in conjunction with broad collaborative efforts to address global warming, while city-based policy discussions focus more on energy and transportation efforts. Third, we evaluate the local factors associated with these discussions. We find that the city’s climate vulnerability is particularly influential in shaping the level and timing of climatic communication.

Notes

Acknowledgements

For helpful comments, we wish to thank Anna Harper and participants at the 2017 Text in Politics Workshop, PolitcologenEtmaal, University of Leiden; the 2017 European Political Science Association Annual Conference, Milan; the 2017 American Political Science Association meeting, San Francisco, CA; and the 2017 Political Studies Association of Ireland meeting, Dublin. Any remaining errors are the authors’ exclusively.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constantine Boussalis
    • 1
  • Travis G. Coan
    • 2
  • Mirya R. Holman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Politics and Exeter Q-Step CentreUniversity of ExeterExeterUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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