Global climate marches sharply raise attention to climate change: Analysis of climate search behavior in 46 countries

Global climate marches sharply raise attention to climate change: Analysis of climate search behavior in 46 countries

Sisco M.R., Pianta S., Weber E.U., Bosetti V., (2021), Global climate marches sharply raise attention to climate change: Analysis of climate search behavior in 46 countries, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 75, June 2021, 101596, DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101596, webpage

Abstract

We examine attention to climate change in 46 countries across six continents from 2015 through 2019 by analyzing internet search activity in ten languages. We find that information seeking about climate change, measured by internet searches, notably increased in 2019 relative to prior years. Next, we analyze the impact of global climate marches on internet search activity and find that climate activist events are powerful drivers of attention compared to political events (United Nations Climate Change Conferences) and temperature abnormalities. To explore the role of media coverage, we estimate the effects of climate marches while controlling for weekly news coverage of climate change and find evidence supporting the notion of media attention mediating the effects of climate protests. Lastly, we quantify the duration of the increases in information seeking produced by these events. We find the durations are short-lived, with attention only staying above pre-event levels for several days. As the literature to date has paid scarce attention to public demonstrations as sources of influence on the public’s attention to climate change, we suggest these results implore the field to focus more research on the impacts of climate activist events.

 

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