June 18 2015
| Climate Notes
On June 18th, Pope Francis released a much-anticipated encyclical—one of the most significant forms of communication within the Catholic Church—on climate change. In September, the Pope will visit the United States, where one in four Americans are Catholic, and address the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
Our research has shown that, in general, Republicans are less convinced that human-caused global warming is happening and less supportive of climate and clean energy policies than are Democrats. We have also found that American Catholics are more likely than other American Christians to believe global warming is happening and to be worried about it
In this Climate Note we investigate whether or not there are differences in global warming beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences between Catholic and non-Catholic Republicans. Overall, we find that Catholic Republicans are more convinced that global warming is happening and human-caused, and are more worried and supportive of climate policies, than are non-Catholic Republicans. These differences between Catholics and non-Catholics are unique to Republicans; that is, we see far fewer differences between Catholic and non-Catholic Democrats and Independents on these issues.
May 13 2015
We are pleased to announce a new website for Yale Climate Connections.
April 20 2015
| Research Reports
Today we are releasing results from our latest national survey, conducted in March 2015. Nearly two-thirds of the American public (63%) currently think global warming is happening, a percentage that has remained relatively stable over the past five years. Similarly, the percentage of the public who think that if global warming is happening, it is mostly human caused (52%) has also remained relatively unchanged.
One reason these numbers have been stable in recent years may be because most Americans are simply not hearing or talking about the issue. Our survey finds, for example, that only 40% of the American public says they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month and only 19% hear about it at least once a week. Further, only 16% say that they hear people they know talk about global warming at least once a month, with only 4% reporting they hear other people talking about it at least once a week.
April 15 2015
| Climate Notes
In January 2015, the U.S. Senate voted on an amendment sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) stating that: “it is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” 50 Senators voted in favor of the amendment, while 49 opposed it.
In this note we compare each Senator’s vote on the Schatz amendment with the views of their own constituents, according to our model of public opinion about climate change at the state level. The comparison finds that Senators were more likely to vote “Yea” on the Schatz amendment if they represent states where a majority of constituents think global warming is at least partly caused by human activities. Senators from states where the public was evenly split or slightly more likely to say global warming isn’t happening or naturally caused were more likely to vote “Nay.”
We are pleased to announce a newly published article: Simple Messages Help Set the Record Straight about Scientific Agreement on Human-Caused Climate Change: The Results of Two Experiments.
Human-caused climate change is happening; nearly all climate scientists are convinced of this basic fact according to surveys of experts and reviews of the peer-reviewed literature. Yet, among the American public, there is widespread misunderstanding of this scientific consensus. In this paper, we report results from two experiments, conducted with national samples of American adults, that tested messages designed to convey the high level of agreement in the climate science community about human-caused climate change.
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We are pleased to announce a new interactive mapping tool called “Yale Climate Opinion Maps” (YCOM) and an accompanying peer-reviewed paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. This tool allows users to visualize and explore differences in public opinion about global warming in the United States in unprecedented geographic detail.
Most of the action to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for climate change impacts is happening at the state and local levels of American society. Yet elected officials, the media, educators, and advocates currently know little about the levels of public and political will for climate action at these sub-national levels. State and local surveys are costly and time-intensive, and as a result most public opinion polling is only done at the national level. This model for the first time reveals the full geographic diversity of public opinion in the United States at these critical levels of decision making.