A view from Tank Hill in San Francisco, just before noon on Sept. 9, 2020. Credit: Sonya Abrams When the smoke from recent wildfires caused an eerie, orange sky to darken San Francisco for an entire day earlier this month, the cultural conversation took an apocalyptic turn. National headlines reflected growing concern about the influence of climate change on extreme weather events, and Twitter seemed to register heightened levels of what is increasingly being called “climate grief.”
And yet, even as hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires tore through 1.2 million acres in Northern California, the conflagrations had the unexpected effect of drawing people with opposing political views closer together. A recent survey conducted by Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West suggests that personal experience with wildfires may lessen partisan gaps over climate policy .
Historically, Republicans are less likely than Democrats to support climate -adaptation measures. In order to investigate whether a partisan gap in pro-environment voting might stymie efforts to combat climate change, a team of Stanford researchers set out to understand how people in different political groups recall wildfire experiences, and how wildfire exposure affects people’s policy choices on an individual level. Led by Iris Hui, a senior […]
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