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Risk Perceptions

March 25 2015

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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Topics: Citizen Behavior Risk Perceptions
December 15 2014

Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming

Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming

A new report, Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming, analyzing results from our national survey conducted in October 2014, finds that Americans are generally unaware of the potential health consequences of global warming. When asked what global warming-related health problems, if any, Americans are experiencing, only about one in four respondents (27%) named at least one health problem known to be related to global warming.
 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Health Risk Perceptions Vulnerability & Resilience
November 18 2014

Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Despite the debate in Congress over proposed EPA regulations, a solid majority of Americans (67%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, according to our October 2014 survey.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Risk Perceptions
November 14 2014

Anthony Leiserowitz on the Public Perception of Climate Change at MIT Conference

YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz provided a keynote address about the public's understanding of climate change at the MIT Climate CoLab conference 2014, Crowds & Climate: From Ideas to Action, held November 6-7, 2014.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs International Surveys Policy Support Risk Perceptions Six Americas
June 26 2014

Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014

Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014

A special report on the politics of global warming. Based on a nationally representative survey conducted in spring 2014, we analyze how Democrats, Republicans and Independents think about global warming, what policies they support or oppose, and the different types of political activism they are willing to engage in.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Policy Support Politics / Elections Risk Perceptions
June 09 2014

Global Warming’s Human Health Impacts Poorly Understood by Americans

Global Warming’s Human Health Impacts Poorly Understood by Americans

In our spring 2014 national survey, we asked Americans to give us their best estimates of the impacts of global warming on human health worldwide – currently and 50 years from now. The largest proportion of respondents (38% to 42%) simply said, “I don’t know.” The next largest proportion (27% to 39%) said either “no one” or “hundreds” of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming each year, either now or 50 years from now.

Only 18% to 32% of Americans said, correctly, that each year either “thousands” or “millions” of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming, either now or 50 years from now.

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Topics: Health Risk Perceptions
May 27 2014

What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change

What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change

A nationally representative survey finds that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” often mean different things to Americans—and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Emotion / Affect / Imagery Knowledge / Climate Literacy Policy Support Risk Perceptions
May 12 2014

Climate Stability As Understood by Global Warming’s Six Americas

Global Warming's Six Americas have very different ideas about how the climate system works:

Climate Stability as Understood by the Six Americas

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Risk Perceptions Six Americas Vulnerability & Resilience
May 10 2014

Anthony Leiserowitz on NPR’s Science Friday

On Friday May 9, 2014, YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz was a guest on NPR's Science Friday, in the week of the release of the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment, to discuss Americans' responses to climate change.  Other guests were Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Sheril Kirshenbaum, Director of the Energy Poll at the University of Texas.  Listen to the segment here.

 
Glacier Bay in Alaska. Photo by Meredith P./flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
 
 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media Outreach Projects Policy Support Risk Perceptions Values & Religion
April 24 2014

How Stable is Earth’s Climate?

Americans have very different mental models of the stability of the climate system. In a nationally representative study, we examined Americans’ understanding of how the climate system works. Survey respondents were presented with the following question:

“People disagree about how the climate system works. The five pictures below illustrate five different perspectives. Each picture depicts the Earth’s climate system as a ball balanced on a line, yet each one has a different ability to withstand human-caused global warming. Which one of the five pictures best represents your understanding of how the climate system works?”

Fragile: Earth's climate is delicately balanced. Small amounts of global warming will have abrupt and catastrophic effects.

Threshold: Earth's climate is stable within certain limits. If global warming is small, climate will return to a stable balance; if it is large, there will be dangerous effects.

Gradual: Earth's climate is gradual to change. Global warming will gradually lead to dangerous effects.

Random: Earth's climate is random and unpredictable. We do not know what will happen.

Stable: Earth's climate system is very stable. Global warming will have little or no effects.

Most respondents chose the Threshold model (34%), followed by the Gradual (24%), Random (21%), Fragile (11%) and Stable (10%) models. Scientifically, at different temporal or spatial scales the climate system can exhibit each of these behaviors, but the best overall answer is the threshold model.

 

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Topics: Knowledge / Climate Literacy Risk Perceptions
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