With Pope Francis now on U.S. soil, what can be said about Americans’ receptivity to his moral entreaty to act now to limit climate change? Our research indicates the American public – Catholics and non-Catholics alike – will be receptive to the Pope’s message.Audiences Attitudes & Beliefs Values & Religion Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Values / Religion Topics Audiences Beliefs & Attitudes
Attitudes & Beliefs
We are pleased to announce an article published today in Nature Climate Change: "Predictors of public climate change awareness and risk perception around the world."
Our research reveals for the first time what the world thinks about climate change and why. Using data from the 2007-2008 Gallup World Poll, conducted in 119 countries, researchers identified the factors that most influence climate change awareness and risk perception for 90 percent of the world's population.
The contrast between developed and developing countries was striking: In North America, Europe and Japan, more than 90 percent of the public is aware of climate change. But in many developing countries relatively few are aware of the issue, although many do report having observed changes in local weather patterns.
Overall, we found that about 40 percent of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change. This rises to more than 65 percent in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh and India.Attitudes & Beliefs International Surveys Risk Perceptions Format Articles Projects International Attitudes & Behavior Tags International Topics Audiences
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.
Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Politics / Elections Values & Religion Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Demographics Energy Knowledge Values / Religion Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
Today we are releasing results from our latest national survey, conducted in March 2015. Nearly two-thirds of the American public (63%) currently think global warming is happening, a percentage that has remained relatively stable over the past five years. Similarly, the percentage of the public who think that if global warming is happening, it is mostly human caused (52%) has also remained relatively unchanged.
One reason these numbers have been stable in recent years may be because most Americans are simply not hearing or talking about the issue. Our survey finds, for example, that only 40% of the American public says they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month and only 19% hear about it at least once a week. Further, only 16% say that they hear people they know talk about global warming at least once a month, with only 4% reporting they hear other people talking about it at least once a week.Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Risk Perceptions Trust Values & Religion Format Reports Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Energy Risk Surveys Values / Religion Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
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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We are pleased to announce a newly published article: "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change as a Gateway Belief: Experimental Evidence" by Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz, Geoffrey Feinberg and Edward Maibach in the journal PLoS ONE.
Our prior survey research has found that only one in ten Americans (9%) correctly understands that there is a scientific consensus about human-caused climate change – i.e., that nearly all climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening. Our new article reports the results of an experiment that investigated how people respond when informed about the scientific consensus.
Our results provide strong evidence for a gateway belief model. On average, being exposed to a “consensus-message” increased study participants’ perceptions of the scientific consensus by 12.8%, and up to as much as 20% in some conditions (compared to a control group). Moreover, this substantial change in the perceived level of scientific consensus caused a positive shift in participants’ belief that climate change is happening, human-caused and a worrisome threat. Changes in these beliefs, in turn, increased support for public action. Importantly, we found these effects for both Democrats and Republicans.Attitudes & Beliefs Risk Communication Trust Format Articles Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Messaging
The new Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to roll back the EPA’s proposed new regulations on coal-fired power plants – a key component of President Obama’s strategy to reduce global warming.
However, Republican voters are actually split in their views about climate change. A look at public opinion among Republicans over the past few years finds a more complex – and divided – Republican electorate.
For this study, we combined the results from six of our nationally-representative surveys over the past three years, which provided enough data for an in-depth analysis of the diversity of views about global warming within the Republican party.
We find that solid majorities of self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans – who comprise 30% of the party – think global warming is happening (62% and 68% respectively). By contrast, 38% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening. At the extreme, Tea Party Republicans (17% of the party) are the most dismissive – only 29% think global warming is happening.Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Energy Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
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.
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.Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Risk Perceptions Format Reports Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Energy Risk Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
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 Format Presentations Tags International Risk Six Americas Topics Audiences Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support