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Knowledge / Climate Literacy

June 18 2015

Among Republicans, Catholics More Likely to Believe that Global Warming is Happening and Support Policies to Reduce It

Among Republicans, Catholics More Likely to Believe that Global Warming is Happening and Support Policies to Reduce It

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.

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Politics / Elections Values & Religion
April 07 2015

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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Topics: Knowledge / Climate Literacy
October 27 2014

YPCCC Director featured in video on Public Perception of Climate Change

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media
October 27 2014

Climate Change Education Program Works

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new article that demonstrates the effectiveness of a nationwide climate change education program focused on high schools in the journal Climatic Change.

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Topics: Knowledge / Climate Literacy Outreach Projects Youth / Families
September 26 2014

Uncovering the Truth about Global Warming’s Health Impacts at the People’s Climate March

Participants in the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st each came with a message.  Looking across the endless river of people and signs flowing through Manhattan it was hard to absorb the vast variety of communication on display.                                                                                                                         Noticeable though was one young man in a lab coat clutching a placard, “Climate Change is a Health Crisis.” The sign conveys a serious consequence of global warming that few Americans currently understand.

In June, we reported that Americans have not yet connected the dots between global warming and impacts on health.   When we asked Americans in our national survey for their best estimate of the impact on human health worldwide—now and 50 years into the future—the majority of respondents said, “I don’t know.” Only 18% to 32% of Americans said correctly that each year worldwide, thousands will die or millions will become ill, or be injured by global warming.

This understanding does not match up with scientific consensus about the severe impacts of global warming on public health.

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Topics: Health Knowledge / Climate Literacy
July 23 2014

How to communicate the scientific consensus on climate change

How to communicate the scientific consensus on climate change

We are pleased to announce a newly published article: "How to Communicate the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: Plain Facts, Pie Charts or Metaphors?" by Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz, Geoffrey Feinberg and Edward W. Maibach in the journal Climatic Change. The article is available for download here.

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Topics: Messaging Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Risk Communication
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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