Nikhar Gaikwad, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

Noah Zucker, PhD Student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

Research Assistant:

Leena Yumeen, Saltzman Student Scholar, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies


Climate change represents one of the greatest policy challenges confronting governments around the world today. Yet relatively little is known about the determinants of political action on climate change. Some countries (and subnational governments) devote more effort than others to addressing climate change with policy action. Policy toolkits also vary, ranging from mitigation strategies to an emphasis on adaptation to climate change’s current and eventual consequences. Explaining both the strength and content of different countries’ climate policies is of great significance to academic researchers and policymakers seeking effective climate action. This task is particularly important in the Global South, home to both some of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and its most climate-vulnerable populations, yet remarkably understudied in the scholarship on climate politics to date. Focusing on South Asia, this study seeks to understand the contours of public support for mitigation and adaptation policies, elucidate the underlying mechanisms of preference formation regarding climate action, and clarify what might lead individuals to take tangible behavioral action on climate change, such as by investing in community-level adaptation or mobilizing politically in pursuit of mitigation. It aims to shed light on the types of policy-oriented interventions that can successfully persuade voters to support ambitious democratic solutions to the climate crisis.