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Media “Echo Chambers” and Climate Change

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of a new peer-reviewed article: Feldman, L., Myers, T., Hmielowski, J., & Leiserowitz, A. (2014). The mutual reinforcement of media selectivity and effects: Testing the reinforcing spirals framework in the context of global warming. Journal of Communication. DOI:10.1111/jcom.12108

Given the diverse sources of news now available in the U.S., partisans can easily choose news sources that align with their political attitudes. Does the rise of partisan news—on cable, talk radio, and the Internet—allow Americans to insulate themselves in “echo chambers” where they are exposed only to content consistent with their opinions, while shielded from dissenting views? If so, this may reinforce partisans’ existing attitudes, making it increasingly difficult for policymakers and the public to achieve mutual understanding and compromise on the most pressing issues of the day, including climate change.

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Uncovering the Truth about Global Warming’s Health Impacts at the People’s Climate March

Participants in the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st each came with a message.  Looking across the endless river of people and signs flowing through Manhattan it was hard to absorb the vast variety of communication on display.                                                                                                                         Noticeable though was one young man in a lab coat clutching a placard, “Climate Change is a Health Crisis.” The sign conveys a serious consequence of global warming that few Americans currently understand.

In June, we reported that Americans have not yet connected the dots between global warming and impacts on health.   When we asked Americans in our national survey for their best estimate of the impact on human health worldwide—now and 50 years into the future—the majority of respondents said, “I don’t know.” Only 18% to 32% of Americans said correctly that each year worldwide, thousands will die or millions will become ill, or be injured by global warming.

This understanding does not match up with scientific consensus about the severe impacts of global warming on public health.

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Beyond Partisanship on Climate Change

The visuals at the People’s Climate March in New York last Sunday conveyed more than just catchy slogans and clever words of inspiration. The signs and costumes and floats were messages to the world designed to create change.  This marcher is making a very clear statement that is supported by our findings, presented in our recent report, Politics and Global Warming, Spring 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                   We find that while big differences do exist between conservative Republicans and Democrats, other Republicans look more like Democrats than their conservative fellow party members on numerous climate issues. Just one example among registered voters: Majorities of Democrats (88 percent) and moderate-to-liberal Republicans (61 percent) think global warming is happening. By marked contrast, only about one in four – 28 percent – conservative Republicans agree.

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Climate Connections Radio Series On Air

Climate Connections Radio Series On Air

“Climate Connections,” a new national radio program now on the air, shares daily stories about how climate change is affecting life in North America and what individuals and groups are doing about it.

The stories will help listeners ”connect the dots” between climate change and energy, extreme weather, public health, food and water, jobs and the economy, national security, the creative arts, and religious and moral values, among other themes.

The series, consisting of 90-second episodes, is edited by Bud Ward, a veteran environmental journalist and longtime editor of the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media (now Yale Climate Connections), and hosted by YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz. Listen to sample stories and subscribe to the daily podcast at Yale Climate Connections.

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The Role of Emotion in Global Warming Policy Support

The Role of Emotion in Global Warming Policy Support

The journal Risk Analysis recently published our article "The Role of Emotion in Global Warming Policy Support and Opposition." Prior research has found that affect (feelings of good or bad) and affective imagery (associations) strongly influence public support for global warming. This article extends this literature by exploring the separate influence of discrete emotions, like fear, anger, worry, guilt, etc.

Using a nationally representative survey in the United States, this study found that discrete emotions were stronger predictors of global warming policy support than cultural worldviews (egalitarianism, individualism), negative affect, top of mind associations, or socio-demographic variables, including political party and ideology. In fact, 50% of the variance in public support for global warming policies was explained by the emotion measures alone.

 

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Voters Will Support Pro-Climate Candidates With Pledges, Time, and Money

Voters Will Support Pro-Climate Candidates With Pledges, Time, and Money

Millions of registered voters  would sign a pledge to vote for, would work for, or would give money to candidates who share their views on global warming – if asked to by a person they like and respect. This suggests that global warming could become a more prominent electoral issue if campaigns engage and mobilize this potential “issue public.”

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