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Human-Caused Global Warming: Senators v. Constituents

Human-Caused Global Warming: Senators v. Constituents

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.”

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Simple Messages Increase Understanding of the Climate Change Consensus

Simple Messages Increase Understanding of the Climate Change Consensus

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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Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Yale Climate Opinion Maps

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.

 

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Climate Change in the American Christian Mind

Climate Change in the American Christian Mind

Our latest national survey finds that majorities of American Christians support a range of policies that would help reduce global warming:

• Tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (83% of Catholics, 80% of non-evangelical Protestants, and 74% of evangelicals, respectively)
• More research funding into renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power (81%, 81% and 73%)
• Regulation of carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant (74%, 75% and 72%)
• Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (67%, 68% and 60%)

According to the survey, most American Christians believe global warming is happening and support policies that can help reduce it. We also find that most believe ‘God expects people to be good stewards of nature, which is not only here for human use.’

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Video: “Shoreline Residents Underestimate Storm Threat” on NBC CT

NBC Connecticut featured our new study on Hurricane Perceptions of Coastal CT Residents and interviewed YPCCC Director Tony Leiserowitz.

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Hurricane Perceptions of Coastal CT Residents

Hurricane Perceptions of Coastal CT Residents

Today we are pleased to release a new report: Hurricane Perceptions of Coastal Connecticut Residents. The report describes public attitudes and behaviors towards past and future hurricanes and tropical storms, based on a representative survey of 1,130 households along the Connecticut coast.

We find that most Connecticut (CT) coastal residents are ill-prepared for the significant safety and economic threats posed by severe coastal storms. Highlights include:

  • Only 21% of coastal CT residents in Zone A say they would evacuate in the event of a Category 2 hurricane if they did NOT receive an official notice; about six in ten (58%) say they would evacuate if advised to by an official.
  • About one third (34%) of coastal CT residents believe it would be safer to stay at home during a Category 2 hurricane; slightly less (31%) believe it would be safer to evacuate, and a final third (35%) say it’s about 50/50.
  • Coastal CT residents generally underestimate storm impacts: about half (52%) say damage from past storms was more than they had expected, whereas 19% say past damage was less than they had expected.

Co-author Anthony Leiserowitz appeared in this T.V. newscast about the study with dramatic footage of the CT coastline during a storm surge.

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