Heat exposure and the climate change beliefs in a Desert City: The case of Phoenix metropolitan area

Mahir Yazar, Abigail York, Georgios Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Beliefs in climate change are influenced by personal experiences and sociodemographic characteristics; yet justice considerations are often overlooked. We unveil the influence of these factors' on climate change beliefs in a large American city facing substantial climate change impacts, Phoenix, Arizona. Using the Phoenix Area Social Survey that includes data collected from (n = 806) households across fourteen cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, we investigate what factors influence a belief that “global warming and climate change are already occurring.” Engaging adaptive capacity and justice literatures with climate belief models, we find that belief in climate change and global warming is positively associated with race specifically other than non-Hispanic Whites, high levels of education, personal experience with heat-related illnesses, and liberal beliefs. Widespread agreement about climate change is found within the scientific community, but general populations, especially in the USA, lag behind in accepting climate change. Critically, there are important justice dimensions absent in the existing literature relevant to understanding belief in and the impacts of climate change. Unpacking these factors could help inform policy makers and civil society organizations in their efforts to design more “just adaptation” strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100769
JournalUrban Climate
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Arizona
  • Climate perception
  • Extreme heat
  • Phoenix
  • USA
  • Urban climate change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science


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