The journal Global Environmental Change recently published an article we wrote examining the accuracy of perceptions about local climate conditions and whether they may be influenced by prior beliefs about the reality of global warming.
We co-authored an original article using our research on public opinion about fracking, published in the journal Energy Policy.
- We conducted a survey of Americans' views on hydraulic fracturing in September 2012
- A majority of Americans have heard little or nothing about hydraulic fracturing.
- Many Americans do not know if they support/oppose it or are undecided.
- Those who have made a decision are evenly split between support and opposition.
- Predictors of support include education, media use and top of mind associations.
There is a growing divide in how conservatives and liberals in the USA understand the issue of global warming. Prior research suggests that the American public’s reliance on partisan media contributes to this gap. However, researchers have yet to identify intervening variables to explain the relationship between media use and public opinion about global warming. Several studies have shown that trust in scientists is an important heuristic many people use when reporting their opinions on science-related topics. Using within-subject panel data from a nationally representative sample of Americans, this study finds that trust in scientists mediates the effect of news media use on perceptions of global warming. Results demonstrate that conservative media use decreases trust in scientists which, in turn, decreases certainty that global warming is happening. By contrast, use of non-conservative media increases trust in scientists, which, in turn, increases certainty that global warming is happening.Continue reading
American evangelicals have long played a significant role in American culture and politics. Drawing from a nationally representative survey, this article describes American evangelicals’ global warming risk assessments and policy preferences and tests several theory-based factors hypothesized to influence their views. American evangelicals are less likely than non-evangelicals to believe that global warming is happening, caused mostly by human activities, and causing serious harm, yet a majority of evangelicals are concerned about climate change and support a range of climate change and energy related policies. Multiple regression analyses found that the combination of biospheric, altruistic, and egoistic value orientations is a more significant predictor of evangelicals’ risk assessments and policy support than negative affect, egalitarian or individualistic worldviews, or socio-demographic variables.
Environmental uncertainty is at the core of much of human activity, ranging from daily decisions by individuals to long-term policy planning by governments. Yet, there is little quantitative evidence on the ability of non-expert individuals or populations to forecast climate-related events. Here we report on data from a 90-year old prediction game on a climate related event in Alaska: the Nenana Ice Classic (NIC). Participants in this contest...Continue reading
This paper provides the first willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates in support of a national climate-change policy that are comparable with the costs of actual legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress. Based on a survey of 2,034 American adults, we find that...Continue reading
It is difficult to detect global warming directly because most people experience changes only in local weather patterns, which are highly variable and may not reflect long-term global climate trends. However, local climate-change experience may play an...Continue reading
In this paper, we address the chicken-or-egg question posed by two alternative explanations for the relationship between perceived personal experience of global warming and belief certainty that global warming is happening: Do observable...Continue reading
Communication researchers and practitioners have suggested that framing climate change in terms of public health and/or national security may make climate change more personally relevant and emotionally engaging to segments of the public who are...Continue reading
In 2010 and 2011, Republicans and Democrats proposed mandating clean power generation in the electricity sector. To evaluate public support for a national clean energy standard (NCES), we conducted a nationally representative survey that...Continue reading
The release of emails from a server at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009 and the following climategate controversy have become a topic for interpretation in the social sciences. This article picks out some of the most...Continue reading
This article explores how affective image associations to global warming have changed over time. Four nationally representative surveys of the American public were conducted between 2002 and 2010 to assess public global warming risk perceptions...Continue reading
The social sciences—from psychology to sociology, from economics to geography, from anthropology to political science—are now essential to meeting the climate challenge. This in no way discounts the critical value of the natural sciences in their continued...Continue reading
During the third week of June 2012, the United Nations will convene Rio+20, officially known as the UN Summit on Sustainable Development (UNSSD), to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de...Continue reading
Information seeking about global climate change among parents and their adolescents: The role of risk perceptions and efficacy beliefs
Global climate change is likely to have significant impacts on public health. Effective communication is critical to informing public decision making and behavior to mitigate climate change. An effective method of audience segmentation, the risk perception...Continue reading
Although a majority of US citizens think that the president and Congress should address global warming, only a minority think it should be a high priority. Previous research has shown that four key beliefs about climate change—that it is real, human caused...Continue reading
This study examines climate change coverage on the three major cable news channels and assesses the relationship between viewership of these channels and beliefs about global warming. Evidence from a content analysis of climate change coverage on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC during 2007 and 2008 demonstrates that Fox takes a more dismissive tone toward climate change than CNN and MSNBC. Fox also interviews a greater ratio of climate change doubters to believers.Continue reading
The understanding that global climate change represents a profound threat to the health and well-being of human and nonhuman species worldwide is growing. This article examines the potential of communication and marketing interventions to...Continue reading
Between December 2009 and January 2010, we conducted a nationally representative telephone survey of US adults (n = 1001; completion rate = 52.9%) to explore perceptions of risks associated with peak petroleum. We asked respondents to assess...Continue reading
Attention to science/environment news positively predicts and attention to political news negatively predicts global warming risk perceptions and policy support
Contemporary science and environmental news coverage of global warming increasingly portrays scientific consensus. Political news coverage of global warming, however, typically portrays controversy. We hypothesize that attention to science and...Continue reading
Kotzebue Sound comprises a large part of the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) shoreline. It has a diverse coastal geomorphology. Natural coastal dynamics and global sea-level rise (SLR) are contributing to changes in the erosion and accretion of...Continue reading
The American Journal of Public Health just published an article about how Americans respond to framing 'peak oil' as a public health problem. YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz and collaborators Matt Nisbet (American University) and Ed Maibach...Continue reading
The science of satire: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as sources of public attention to science and the environment
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report have attracted much interest in recent years from popular audiences as well as scholars in various disciplines. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been named on Time magazine's list of the...Continue reading
Identifying like-minded audiences for climate change public engagement campaigns: An audience segmentation analysis and tool development
In Fall 2008, we conducted a nationally representative survey of American adults (n = 2,164) to identify audience segments for global warming public engagement campaigns. By subjecting multiple measures of global warming beliefs, behaviors, policy...Continue reading
Education and communication are among the most powerful tools the nation has to bring hidden hazards to public attention, understanding, and action. Citizens, governments, and the private sector cannot factor climate change into their decisions...Continue reading
A working paper that examines the impact of Climategate on public perceptions of climate change and climate scientists, drawing on a national survey conducted in December 2009 and January, 2010. In brief, we found that Climategate had a...Continue reading
Saving Energy Is a Value Shared by All Americans: Results of a Global Warming Audience Segmentation Analysis
In this chapter we will provide evidence that President Obama has it right: despite political differences about global warming, most Americans are indeed willing to participate in a national effort to transform the way we use energy. Even many of the...Continue reading
This chapter introduces the concepts of risk and risk perception, summarizes public opinion on climate change internationally and in the United States, and reports results from an in-depth study of public climate change risk perceptions, policy preferences...Continue reading
Finding the teachable moment: An analysis of information-seeking behavior on global warming related websites during the release of The Day After Tomorrow
This paper investigates how the mass media may influence information-seeking behavior through an analysis of how the release of the movie The Day After Tomorrow, a fictional depiction of global warming causing catastrophic natural disasters...Continue reading
In June–August 2007, the Horizon Research Consultancy Group, one of the largest survey research companies in China, conducted a survey in 10 major Chinese cities selected to represent a diversity of geography and economic development across the...Continue reading
This article reviews the evolution, communication, and differing interpretations of the National Hurricane Center's “cone of uncertainty” hurricane forecast graphic. It concludes with a discussion of this graphic from the perspective of risk...Continue reading
Communication and mental processes: Experiential and analytic processing of uncertain climate information
People process uncertainty information in two qualitatively different systems. Most climate forecast communications assume people process information analytically. Yet people also rely heavily on an experiential processing system. Better understanding of...Continue reading
This review surveys five major efforts to identify and declare values essential to global sustainability; describes empirical trends (as measured by multina- tional and global-scale surveys) in values, attitudes, and behaviors related to human and economic...Continue reading
A national, representative survey of the U.S. public found that Americans have moderate climate change risk perceptions, strongly support a variety of national and international policies to mitigate climate change, and strongly oppose several carbon...Continue reading
Drawing on the few multinational and quasi-global-scale surveys that have been conducted, this article synthesizes and reviews what is currently known about global attitudes and behavior that will either support or discourage a global sustainability...Continue reading
A brief history of the concept, along with the interpretive differences and the common ground in definitions, goals, indicators, values, and practice follows. Taken together, these help explain what is meant by sustainable development.Continue reading
This article describes results from a national study (2003) that examined the risk perceptions and connotative meanings of global warming in the American mind and found that Americans perceived climate change as a moderate risk that will...Continue reading
After climate change reached Hollywood, Hollywood struck back and gave the world Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, the top-ranking film in the recently created film genre “Global Warming Films.” Anthony Leiserowitz’s article, “Before...Continue reading
The Day After Tomorrow had a significant impact on the climate change risk perceptions, conceptual models, behavioral intentions, policy priorities, and even voting intentions of moviegoers. The film led moviegoers to have higher levels of concern...Continue reading