Global climate action will likely be motivated by public concerns about climate change and severe weather, to the extent that they are different. Public perception researchers have been debating whether or not people conflate climate and weather. If climate change concerns and severe weather concerns are different, then they should be formed in different ways. Here, we compare how climate change concerns and severe weather concerns around the world are correlated with key predictors of risk concerns: (1) higher education, which facilitates risk understanding, and (2) experiences and perceptions of severe weather, which increase feelings of concern. We analyze data from the 2019 Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, which was conducted in 142 countries. We find that people who have a college or high-school degree (vs. at most completed elementary school) are more concerned about climate change, but education is unrelated to severe weather concerns. People with experiences and perceptions of severe weather events are more likely to report climate change concerns and severe weather concerns, but the relationships with severe weather concerns are stronger. Thus, climate change concerns and severe weather concerns seem to be formed differently. Findings hold when controlling for household income, other individual characteristics, and country characteristics. They also hold in separate analyses for each World Bank country-income category and continent. These findings suggest that climate change communications should aim to be understandable to audiences at all educational levels and facilitate connections to personal experiences and perceptions of severe weather to climate change.