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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: 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
April 09 2014

New Commentary Urges Climate Scientists to “Set the Record Straight”

New Commentary Urges Climate Scientists to “Set the Record Straight”

We just published a commentary in Earth’s Future, a new online, open-access journal published by the American Geophysical Union.  The commentary is entitled: “Climate Scientists Need to Set the Record Straight: There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is happening.”

In the commentary, we argue that the climate science community needs to do more to communicate the scientific consensus because: (a) most Americans don’t know there is a scientific consensus on this point; (b) this lack of awareness undermines people’s engagement in the issue; and (c) research by our team – and others – has shown that simple messages that communicate this basic scientific conclusion are highly effective, especially with political conservatives.

We encourage you to download the commentary and join the effort to set the record straight.

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Topics: Knowledge / Climate Literacy Risk Communication
February 24 2014

CNN’s Carol Costello Interviews Anthony Leiserowitz on Why Climate Change Isn’t A Debate

Following up on her Sunday op-ed, CNN's Carol Costello sat down with YPCCC Director, Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz today to discuss why Americans continue to contend that climate change isn't happening.

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media Risk Perceptions
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