Global Warming Risk Perceptions in India

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new article, “Global Warming Risk Perceptions in India” in the journal Risk Analysis.

Most studies of public responses to climate change have been conducted in developed countries. As a result, we know comparatively little how people perceive global warming in developing countries, which are disproportionally burdened by its impacts. In this study, we examined climate change risk perceptions among the Indian public.

When asked for the first word or phrase that comes to mind when thinking about global warming, the single most frequent response among Indians was “don’t know” or “can’t say” (25%), reflecting a critical difference in issue awareness compared to, for example, the U.S. public, where this response is rare.

Other frequently mentioned categories of associations were “pollution” (21%), “heat” (20%), “nature” (16%), “climate” (14%), and “alarmed” (10%), among others, indicating that Indians largely interpret global warming through their everyday lived experiences in their local environment. Importantly, however, and in contrast to studies in countries like the U.S., there were no “naysayer” responses indicating climate denial.

We also found that perceived vulnerability to extreme weather events was the single strongest predictor of climate change risk perceptions in India, followed by an egalitarian worldview, worry, and perceived resilience.

These results suggest that communicating how individuals and communities are vulnerable to climate change-related extreme weather events may be one of the most effective ways to engage the Indian public in the issue.

The full article is available here to those with a subscription to Risk Analysis. If you would like to request a copy, please send an email to with the subject line: Request Global Warming Risk Perceptions in India paper.