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HWWI Working Papers

Do climate-related disasters cause dissatisfaction with environmental policies?

Michael Berlemann, Silke Bumann, Joel Methorst (2024),
HWWI Working Papers No. 1/2024, Hamburg Institute of International Economics.

Climate policies urgently need public support to be successfully implemented as they typically come with short-term costs, whereas their revenues accrue far in the future. We study whether the occurrence of climate-related natural disasters have a systematic impact on dissatisfaction with actual environmental policies. Based on geo-referenced worldwide survey data we find robust empirical evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the experience of heatwaves, tropical storms and flood events trigger environmental policy dissatisfaction, at least when controlling for disaster severity. Thus, climate-related natural disasters, which will occur either more often or gain in severity in the course of global warming might significantly contribute to a rising public demand for more effective environmental and climate policies. However, the effect turns out to diminish over time.

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Silke Bumann