August 02 2015
| Climate Notes
The final rules of the EPA Clean Power Plan are now unveiled. The plan requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, one of the nation’s largest sources of carbon pollution.
In recent months, some Republicans in Congress and governors from coal-producing states have attacked the new plan. These attacks might suggest there is widespread public opposition to regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. However, our research finds the opposite.
In our latest national survey (March, 2015), we found that a large majority of Americans support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants; by more than a two-to-one margin: 70% support; 29% oppose.
Likewise, our models of public opinion in all 50 states (2014) find that a majority of Americans in almost every state support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants.
We are pleased to announce an article published today in Nature Climate Change: "Predictors of public climate change awareness and risk perception around the world."
Our research reveals for the first time what the world thinks about climate change and why. Using data from the 2007-2008 Gallup World Poll, conducted in 119 countries, researchers identified the factors that most influence climate change awareness and risk perception for 90 percent of the world's population.
The contrast between developed and developing countries was striking: In North America, Europe and Japan, more than 90 percent of the public is aware of climate change. But in many developing countries relatively few are aware of the issue, although many do report having observed changes in local weather patterns.
Overall, we found that about 40 percent of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change. This rises to more than 65 percent in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh and India.
As Superstorm Sandy battered the U.S. East Coast in 2012, residents in communities along the Connecticut shore received “mandatory” evacuation orders, but most people didn’t leave. A new report, "Hurricane Attitudes of Coastal Connecticut Residents: A Segmentation Analysis," based on a survey of 1,130 people living along the state’s coastline, provides insights into why some people decide to evacuate in the face of a weather emergency and why others try to ride out the storm. The report identifies five distinct groups of CT coastal residents based on their attitudes towards hurricanes: the “First Out” (21% of the population); the “Constrained” (14%); the “Optimists” (16%); the “Reluctant” (27%); and the “Diehards (22%).” The First Out are the most likely to evacuate during a hurricane whereas the Diehards are the least likely to leave. Each group, however, has unique characteristics.
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.
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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.