Global climate change is a prototypical member of a new class of risks that have global causes and impacts. The impacts of this “global” risk, however, will occur in different ways in different places at different points in time (e.g., sea level rise vs. drought vs. water-borne disease). Dr. Leiserowitz's research examines how human decision makers (individuals, groups and entire societies) perceive climate change risks, what mitigation and adaptation policies they support or oppose, and what actions they have or are willing to take to address this risk. Recent projects include:
Climate Change in the American Mind
A series of national surveys on American risk perceptions, policy preferences and behaviors regarding global climate change. For more detail and results, click here.
The Future is Now: Climate Change Detection, Attribution and Adaptation in Alaska
Alaska (and the rest of the Arctic) has warmed approximately twice the global average. As a result, Alaska is already experiencing significant climate impacts. This project examines how Alaskans are responding. For more detail and results, click here.
Climate Change, Vicarious Experience and the Social Amplification of Risk
On Memorial Day 2004, Twentieth Century Fox released The Day After Tomorrow, a disaster movie depicting an abrupt climate change leading to a new ice age, triggered by a shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation system. The Day After Tomorrow was the first movie to depict an abrupt climate change for a worldwide audience and sparked a heated debate about climate change science and politics. This study examined whether the film significantly influenced American climate change risk perceptions, policy preferences and behavioral intentions. For more detail and results, click here.
Scientific Information vs. Vicarious Experience in Climate Change Risk Perception and Behavior: An International Study
An experimental study of different modes of climate change communication replicated in Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United States. For more detail and results, click here.