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.Attitudes & Beliefs International Surveys Policy Support Risk Perceptions Six Americas
Global Warming's Six Americas have very different ideas about how the climate system works:
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We are pleased to provide an adapted version of our chapter in a terrific forthcoming book edited by Anders Hanson and Robbie Cox: Handbook of Environment and Communication (Routledge, December 2014).
Abstract: Global climate change – a threat of potentially unprecedented magnitude – is viewed from a variety of perspectives by Americans, with some dismissing the danger, some entirely unaware of its significance, and still others highly concerned and motivated to take action. Understanding the sources of these diverse perspectives is key to effective audience engagement: Messages that ignore the cultural and political underpinnings of people's views on climate change are less likely to succeed.
Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2013
The most recent national Climate Change in the American Mind survey found that 1 in 4 Americans think that global warming is not happening, and half say they are "worried" about it.
Other highlights include:
- There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013). But about two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening, a number that has been consistent since spring 2013.
- The proportion of Americans who say they “don’t know” whether or not global warming is happening has dropped 6 points – from 20% to 14% – since spring of 2013.
- About half of Americans (51%) say they are “somewhat” (38%) or “very worried” (15%) about global warming.
- Fewer than half of Americans (38%) believe they personally will be harmed a “moderate amount” or a “great deal” by global warming.
- By contrast, majorities believe that global warming will harm future generations of people (65%) and plant and animal species (65%).
- About four in 10 say they feel “helpless” (43%), “disgusted” (42%), or “sad” (40%) when thinking about global warming.
- By contrast, four in ten (42%), say they feel “hopeful” about the subject.
Find out how Americans think about and value climate change in the 21st century.
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On October 2, 2013, YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz sat down with Dale Jamieson, Kate Orff, and Paul Lewis for a panel on "Climate Change and the American Mind" as a part of the Architecture League of New York's "The 5000 Pound Life" event.
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One in four Americans (24%) would support an organizaton that engaged in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse.
One in eight (13%) say they would be willing to personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience for the same reason.
In the past year, Americans were more likely to discuss global warming with family and friends than to communicate about it using social media (33% versus 7%).
Americans are most likely to identify their own friends and family, such as a significant other (27%), son or daughter (21%), or close friend (17%), as the people who could motivate them to take action to reduce global warming.Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Consumer Behavior Media Risk Communication Six Americas
- Half of all Americans at least occasionally consider environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to buy a product.
- At least four in ten Americans say they “often” or “occasionally” bought food grown or produced locally (69%) or organic food (42%) in the past 12 months, while eight in ten intend to buy locally grown or produced food and six in ten intend to buy organic food in the next 12 months.
- Asked if, the next time they make a purchase, they intend to buy specific energy-efficient items, majorities of Americans say they will buy an energy-efficient kitchen appliance (75%), home water heater (71%), home air conditioner (68%), or home furnace (67%). Six in ten say the next time they purchase a car, it will average 30 miles or more per gallon (61%).
- Three in ten Americans (28%) say that, in the past 12 months, they have rewarded companies taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products. About one in five (21%) also say that in the past 12 months they have punished companies opposing steps to reduce global warming by not purchasing their products.
- In the past 12 months, one in four Americans (26%) say they discussed what they see as a company’s irresponsible environmental behavior with friends or family. One in ten has spread information about offending companies via the Internet (10%).
- Nearly four out of ten Americans (38%) say that they would be willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to do “the right thing” about global warming.
- Over the past 12 months, five to ten percent of Americans have “often” or “occasionally” signed a petition about global warming (10%); shared information about global warming on Facebook or Twitter (7%); donated money to an organization working on global warming (7%); donated money to a political candidate because they share your views on global warming (6%); posted a comment online in response to a news story or blog about global warming (6%); written letters, emailed, or phoned a newspaper about global warming (5%); or volunteered time to elect a political candidate because they share your views on global warming (5%).
Anthony Leiserowitz presents Climate Change and the American Mind at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
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A new national study in India finds six distinct groups within the Indian public that respond to the issue of climate change in very different ways. These "Six Indias" include:
- The Informed (19%)
- The Experienced (24%)
- The Undecided (15%)
- The Unconcerned (15%)
- The Indifferent (11%)
- The Disengaged (16%)
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