Research Roundup for June, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Some 62 percent of Americans believe the government is doing too little to protect the environment, the highest level in 12 years (Gallup, 2018).
 
 
  • Some 55 percent of likely voters believe U.S. environmental policy is on the wrong track. A similar proportion support a plan put forward by retired Republican leaders to tax carbon pollution and return the dividends to taxpayers (Americans for Carbon Dividends, 2018).  
     
  • Three in five Americans believe that monitoring the Earth's climate should be a top priority for NASA. Just one in five believe that sending astronauts to Mars should be a top priority for the space agency (Pew Research, 2018).
 
 
  • Having been informed of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's alleged indiscretions, seven in 10 likely voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Pruitt. Nearly six in 10 likely voters believe President Trump should fire Pruitt (NRDC Action Fund, 2018).
     
  • Having been informed of Pruitt's alleged indiscretions, more than five in 10 registered voters say that he should be removed from office. Pruitt is a staunch Republican. By a two to one margin, Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle environmental issues (Politico/Morning Consult, 2018).
     
  • In May 2018, U.S. news coverage of climate change largely focused on President Trump and his policies, often at the expense of other important stories (Boykoff, Katzung, & Nacu-Schmidt, 2018).
 
 This word cloud shows the frequency of words used in U.S. TV news coverage of climate change in May 2018.

This word cloud shows the frequency of words used in U.S. TV news coverage of climate change in May 2018.

 
  • Seven in 10 Americans age 18 to 34 are worried about climate change, compared with six in 10 Americans age 35 and older (Gallup, 2018).
     
  • U.S. Latinos are more alarmed by climate change and less dismissive of the issue than non-Latinos. This is particularly true of Latinos whose primary language is Spanish. Alarmed Latinos are less likely than alarmed non-Latinos to say they have  been asked to contact their elected official about climate change (Leiserowitz, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2018).
 
 
  • Advocates may push for clean energy policies on the basis that they fight climate change, cut air pollution or help achieve energy independence. Each argument is equally persuasive to Democrats. Republicans are less persuaded by arguments about climate change (Feldman & Hart, 2018). 
     
  • Eight in 10 Maine residents believe climate change will impact their state at some point. A similar proportion support political action to reduce climate change (Natural Resources Council of Maine, 2018).

 

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Research Roundup for May, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • A little more than half of U.S. voters disapprove of President Trump's environmental policies, while only around a third approve. Voters trust Democrats significantly more than Republicans to keep pollution in check. Around seven in 10 believe that solar and wind should be a higher priority than fossil fuels (Change Research, 2018).
     
  • The proportion of registered Republicans who believe that humans are causing climate change has risen 9 percentage points since the fall or 2017. The proportion who support limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants also has increased by 9 percentage points. At the same time, few Republicans will take climate change into account when deciding how to vote in the 2018 midterm elections (Leiserowitz et al., 2018).
 
 
  • The proportion of registered Republicans who say they are worried about climate change has dropped 10 percentage points since the fall of 2017 (Morning Consult, 2018).
     
  • While Democrats largely believe the goal of U.S. energy policy should be to develop renewable power and protect the environment, Republicans say the goal of U.S. energy policy should be to drive down prices and reduce dependence on foreign energy. Notably, young Republicans are more skeptical of fossil fuels and more supportive of clean energy than their older counterparts (Pew Research, 2018).
 
 
  • Before Barack Obama became president, white Americans and Americans of color were equally concerned about climate change. Over the course of Obama's presidency, white Americans became more dismissive of climate change than Americans of color, suggesting racial resentment has fueled climate denial (Benegal, 2018).
     
  • Low-income communities and communities of color tend to worry more than other communities about the health risks of extreme heat. Climate change will produce more frequent and intense heat waves in the years to come (Howe, Marlon, Wang, & Leiserowitz, 2018).
     
  • Six in 10 Americans trust medical professionals for information about climate change, but only two in 10 say they hear about climate change from health professionals (EcoAmerica, 2018).
     
  • People who feel their beliefs are superior tend to overestimate their knowledge of political issues. They also tend to consume news that reinforces their beliefs (Hall & Raimi, 2018). 

 

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Research Roundup for April, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Almost half of Americans are certain the climate is changing, the highest level since 2008. Almost six in 10 believe humans are to blame, the highest level on record. (Leiserowit et al., 2017).
 
 
  • Only one in four Americans are concerned about the availability and affordability of energy, the lowest proportion in 18 years. Relatedly, around six in 10 Americans believe the United States should prioritize environmental protection over energy production, the highest proportion in 18 years. By a three to one ratio, Americans are more interested in developing renewable energy than in developing coal, oil and gas (Pew Research, 2018).
 
 
  • African-Americans and Latinos are considerably more concerned about climate change than white Americans. They are also more likely to say they are personally affected by the issue (EcoAmerica, 2018).
 
 
  • Since the beginning of 2016, one in five Americans have shown up to a political protest, rally or speech. More Americans have protested in support of environmental protections than have protested on nearly any other issue (Washington Post & Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018).
     
  • When temperatures spike, people tend to feel more concerned about climate change, but the effect is small. Future warming may lead the public to worry more, but probably not enough to produce any kind of consensus on climate change (Bergquist & Warshaw, 2018).
     
  • Some 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans are warming the planet. After being told this fact, residents of conservative states were just as likely as their counterparts in liberal states to acknowledge that scientists broadly agree about climate change. This message had the biggest impact on residents of states that are heavily invested in fossil fuels (Zhang et al., 2018).
 
 
  • Science publications and their associated Facebook pages tend to focus on health, food, animals, engineering and astronomy more than energy or the environment (Pew Research, 2018).
     
  • Presenting climate change as a matter of public health—as opposed to a matter of economics, national security or the environment—in online news articles can drive traffic among Democrats and, to a lesser extent, independents. Republicans are uninterested in news about climate change regardless of how it's presented (Feldman & Hart, 2018).
     
  • Australian voters tend to adopt the policy positions espoused by the leaders of their party. When leaders of their party and a rival party agree on particular policy, voters tend to support that policy (Kousser & Tranter 2018).
     
  • A study of U.S. media coverage of climate change from 1980 to 2014 found that Democratic elites speak about climate change more consistently and in more certain terms than Republican elites. Researchers suggest the abundance of Democrats pushing for climate policy may have spurred Republican voters to reject climate science (Merkley & Stecula, 2018).
     
  • Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are driving climate change. Americans of every political stripe are more convinced of this fact when they hear it from Republican leaders than when they hear it from either Democratic leaders or scientists (Benegal & Scruggs, 2018).
     
  • Paradoxically, Americans who worry about climate change are less likely to take public transit or buy green products than Americans who dismiss climate change (Hall, Lewis, & Ellsworth, 2018).

 

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Research Roundup for March, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • A growing number of Americans understand that most scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. Today, nearly seven in 10 Americans acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change, up from five in 10 Americans in 2011 (Hamilton, 2018).
     
  • Five in 10 Americans say the federal government bears a great deal of responsibility for addressing climate change. Four in 10 say the same about state governments, while three in 10 say the same about local governments (University of Michigan, 2018).
     
  • Six in 10 U.S. millennials believe humans are causing climate change. Nearly eight in 10 think humankind should take action to stem climate change, including a majority of Republicans. Nevertheless, only around one in 10 millennials rank climate change as their top concern, which is less than the number who list the economy, immigration or healthcare as their top concern (Alliance for Market Solutions, 2018).
 
  • Political parties provide people with a sense of belonging. For many, belonging to a group is more important than maintaining an accurate view of the world, which is why partisans often reject facts that conflict with their party's position, even if those facts come from a reliable source, such as a major newspaper or a leading academic journal. To overcome this tendency, experts should encourage people to think of themselves as American citizens rather than as political partisans (Van Bavel & Pereira, 2018).
     
  • Conservatives believe scientists who talk about climate change are less credible than scientists who discuss other, less contentious issues (Vraga, Myers, Kotcher, Beall, & Maibach, 2018).
     
  • Using humor to explain climate change is an effective means of engaging young people. Young people who saw a funny video about climate change were more likely to make plans to take part in activism than those who saw a neutral video. Notably, those who saw an ominous video about climate change were just as likely to take action as those who saw a funny video (Skurka, Niederdeppe, Romero-Canyas, & Acup, 2018).
     
  • Two in three environmental journalists cite a lack of time for field research as a major obstacle to reporting on climate change. Roughly half cite a lack of time or space in their news outlet as an obstacle, while a little less than half cite a lack of training in climate science. Three in four environmental journalists trust government agencies for information about climate change less since President Donald Trump took office. While the overwhelming majority of environmental journalists agree the humans are causing climate change, around three in 10 say quote climate doubters in their reporting to maintain credibility with their audience (Maibach et al., 2018).
 
 
  • On Twitter, fake news—including fakes news about science—travels farther and faster than real news (Vosoughi, Roy, & Aral, 2018).
     
  • More than two in three voters in Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania support a statewide goal of generating 100 percent of electricity from clean energy by 2030 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 2018).
     
  • Seven in 10 Utah residents believe their local air quality has worsened over the last 20 years. Most are worried about air pollution (Howe, Givens, & Coppock, 2018).
     
  • Eight in 10 Oklahoma voters want to build more wind power in the state (SoonerPoll, 2018).

 

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Research Roundup for February, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Support for phasing out coal-fired power plants grew among both Democrats and Republicans between 2016 and 2017. Support for increasing the use of gas-fired power plants waned over the same period (University of Michigan, 2018).
     
  • A majority of Americans now oppose increasing offshore drilling, though the public is sharply divided along partisan lines (Pew Research, 2018).
     
  • More and more Democrats think climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress, while the number of Republicans who say so has remained roughly the same in recent years. Climate change and the environment remain exceptionally divisive issues. (Pew Research, 2018).
 
 
  • Voters in Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico are more likely to identify as conservationists than they were two years ago. By a three to one margin, they believe that protecting public lands should be a higher priority for the administration than opening public lands to oil and gas drilling (Colorado College, 2018).
     
  • More than seven in 10 Oregonians support rules to put the state on track to generating 100 percent of its power from renewables by 2050 (PolicyInteractive, 2018).
     
  • American Christians — including Catholics, Protestants and members of other denominations — have shown less and less concern about the environment over time. This finding holds regardless of how often people attend church (Konisky, 2018).
     
  • Latina women are more likely to say they are personally affected by air pollution and extreme weather than white women or black women (EcoAmerica & LRP, 2018).
     
  • Most Americans lie about how often they vote. This includes those who say they prioritize the environment (Environmental Voter Project, 2018).

 

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Research Roundup for January, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Personal concern about climate change is at an all-time high across several polls, as is the share of Americans who believe humans are causing climate change. A growing number of Americans think the environment is getting worse. A majority thinks the environment should be a higher priority than the economy (EcoAmerica, 2017).
 
  • Six in 10 residents of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia say that sea-level rise and storms are very serious concerns. Eight in 10 recognize that humans are changing the climate. Seven in 10 support the construction of offshore wind turbines that can't be seen from the shore. About half support the construction of offshore wind turbines that can be seen from the shore (Monmouth University, 2017).
     
  • Americans trust government agencies and the news media more than the White House or Congress for information about the energy sector. Americans also trust the solar industry more than other energy industries. Notably, the public grossly overestimates how much of America's energy comes from wind and solar (Makovsky, 2017).
 
 
  • A new study finds that a national campaign to push universities to divest from fossil fuels succeeded in bringing unpopular policy proposals—such as a carbon tax—into the mainstream (Schifeling & Hoffman, 2017).
     
  • Both liberals and conservatives are more likely to believe scientists agree about climate change after being told that "97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening" (Van der Linden, Leiserowitz, & Maibach, 2017).
     
  • Researchers tend to treat emotions as levers that can be pulled to elicit a particular response. Fear, they warn, leads people to dismiss climate change. Hope, they say, is motivating. This is a gross oversimplification. In truth, people draw on a range of emotions, values and beliefs when processing messages about climate change (Chapman, Lickel, & Markowitz, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for November, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Worry about climate change is at an all-time high. So is the number of Americans who say they have personally experienced the effects of climate change. Currently, more Americans feel angry, hopeless or afraid about climate change than feel hopeful. Half of Americans say they hear about climate change in the news at least once a month (Leiserowitz et al., 2017).
 
 
  • Three in four Americans say they will vote for a candidate in the upcoming election based, in part, on his or her position on climate change. Four in 10 Americans say they talk about climate change more than did a year ago. Almost none say they  talk about climate change less (EcoAmerica, 2017).
     
  • Climate change, air pollution and water pollution rank among Americans' top ten fears (Chapman University, 2017).
 
 
  • Eight in 10 Americans believe it's important for the world to be powered entirely by clean energy. Seven in 10 say they would be proud if the United States became a global leader in clean energy (Ørsted, 2017).
     
  • Around seven in 10 adults in Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia support ambitious fuel standards for cars and trucks (Sierra Club, 2017).
     
  • There is significant variation in opinion about climate change among Democrats and Republicans, respectively, across the country. Republicans in coastal areas, for example, are more likely to believe the climate is changing than are Republicans in the middle of the country (Mildenberger, Marlon, Howe, & Leiserowitz, 2017).
 

The proportion of registered Republicans who think global warming is happening.

 
  • A study of nine major newspapers, the three major broadcast networks and the three major cable news channels found that, between 2010 and 2016, these outlets collectively ran only 30 stories mentioning protests at UN climate talks. Several outlets—including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News—ran no stories mentioning protests at UN climate talks (Public Citizen, 2017).
     
  • Digital news outlets such as Vice, BuzzFeed and Huffington Post covered the 2015 Paris climate talks differently than legacy news outlets. Digital outlets focused more on protests and less on the minutiae of the negotiations (Painter, Kristiansen, & Schäfer, 2018).
     
  • Even small news outlets—meaning those with a circulation of around 50,000—can have a significant effect on the national conversation. If three small outlets report on the same topic on the same day, they will drive a 10 percent increase in the number of social media posts about that topic over the course of the following week (King, Schneer, & White, 2017).
     
  • Scientists who champion noncontroversial solutions to climate change (e.g. tax rebates for solar panels) are seen as more credible than scientists who don't recommend solutions (Beall, Myers, Kotcher, Vraga, & Maibach, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for October, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Around one third of Americans blame Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma on climate change (NBC & Wall Street Journal, 2017).
     
  • Around six in 10 North Carolinians believe climate change has made recent hurricanes more severe. The same proportion believes climate change is contributing to sea-level rise (High Point University, 2017).
     
  • Seven in 10 Americans believe the climate is changing, and six in 10 think humans are at least partially responsible. A majority of Americans think their local governments should be doing more to address climate change (AP-NORC, 2017).
     
  • Nine in 10 Democrats believe the Earth is warming, up from eight in 10 in 2014. Around half of Republicans think the Earth is warming, up from four in 10 in 2014. Around eight in 10 Democrats believe humans are to blame for climate change, while only one in four Republicans agrees (Pew Research, 2017).
 
 
  • Religious conservatives have little faith in science and are likely to reject climate science (Rutjens, Sutton, & van der Lee, 2017).
     
  • Research shows that conspiratorial thinking partly drives climate denial. Climate change conspiracy theorists—meaning people who believe anthropogenic climate change is a hoax—are unlikely to try to shrink their carbon footprint. They are also likely to reject studies linking climate denial to conspiratorial thinking (Uscinski, Douglas, & Lewandowsky, 2017).
     
  • People respond to social norms. Emphasizing the popularity of a particular behavior—eating less meat, for example—can be an effective way of getting people to adopt that behavior. But, it's more effective to emphasize that a behavior is growing in popularity than to suggest that it's popular already (Sparkman & Walton, 2017).
     
  • Most people in Oklahoma accurately observed year-to-year changes in temperature and rainfall despite their conservative political leanings. Other research has shown that conservatives are inclined to doubt the climate is changing (Ripberger et al., 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for September, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • A slight majority of Americans say climate change made recent hurricanes more severe (Washington Post & ABC News, 2017).
     
  • Around half of Americans think climate change is making hurricanes worse. That includes four in five Democrats, but only one in six Republicans (CNN & SSRS, 2017).
     
  • Republican voters are more concerned about climate change in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, though concern among Democrats, inexplicably, has declined slightly (Morning Consult & Politico, 2017).
     
  • Concern about climate change is at an all-time high. Most Americans believe the environment is getting worse and that the environment should be a bigger priority. However, small changes in the wording of questions about climate change can produce significant variations in responses (EcoAmerica, 2017).
 
  • U.S. concern about climate change peaked in 2000 and again in 2016. At the state level, Americans have become more concerned as temperatures have risen, though public opinion is not responsive to rain, drought or wildfires (Bergquist & Warshaw, 2017).
     
  • U.S. latinos are more concerned about climate change and more supportive of policies to tackle climate change than non-latinos. This is particularly true of Spanish-speaking latinos (Leiserowitz, Cutler, & Rosenthal, 2017).
     
  • Only one in six Americans actively seek out and frequently consume science news. About half of Americans say they regularly get their science news from general news outlets, but less than a third of Americans trust these outlets to get the facts right on science stories (Pew Research, 2017).
 
 
  • More than nine in 10 Americans believe we have a moral responsibility to care for nature. Notably, religious Americans are less likely than non-religious Americans to believe the climate is changing or that pollution is contributing to extreme weather (EcoAmerica, 2017).
     
  • Americans support a tax on fossil fuels, particularly if the revenue is used to invest in clean energy and infrastructure or to compensate displaced coal workers (Kotchen, Turk, & Leiserowitz, 2017).
     
  • Three in four Americans support net metering, a policy that allows rooftop solar owners to sell surplus power back to the grid. That includes large majority of Americans who believe there is little evidence of climate change (Simon and Mills, 2017).
     
  • Eight in 10 Americans think that local communities should invest in clean energy and prepare for the impacts of climate change (EcoAmerica, 2017).
     
  • Four in five Californians want their state to be a global leader on climate action. Three in four support the state's push to generate 100 percent of its power from clean energy (Public Policy Institute of California, 2017).
     
  • Two in three Nebraskans support the state moving to 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Less than half support the Keystone XL pipeline (Public Policy Polling, 2017).
     
  • We tend to think of future generations as a separate group. Promoting a sense of solidarity with future generations can boost interest in green products (Meleady & Crisp, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for August, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Nearly two in three Americans oppose cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. A similar proportion opposes cutting funding for NOAA, clean-energy research, energy-efficiency programs and programs that limit pollution in low-income communities and communities of color (NRDC & American Viewpoint, 2017).
     
  • More than seven in 10 registered voters believe that businesses, political leaders and private citizens should do more to address climate change. Nearly four in five registered voters have never been asked to contact their elected leader about climate change (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2017).
 
 
  • While scholars have suggested that economic downturns stunt support for environmental policies, new analysis shows the 2008 recession had no impact on Americans' attitudes toward climate change. Instead, recent changes in public opinion have largely been driven by shifting cues from political elites (Mildenberger & Leiserowitz, 2017).
     
  • Science education makes people more polarized in their beliefs about climate change. More educated conservatives are more likely to deny climate science (Drummond & Fischhoff, 2017).
     
  • Analysis from Roll Call shows that Americans living in congressional districts that stand to lose the most from climate change—primarily in the South along the Gulf Coast—are less concerned about the carbon crisis than Americans living in districts more insulated from the problem (Kelly, 2017).
 
 
  • Americans tend to underestimate how many of their fellow citizens believe that humans are causing climate change. However, Republicans who worry about climate change tend to overestimate the number of their fellow Republicans who feel the same (Mildenberger & Tingley, 2017).
     
  • Analysis finds that one-fifth of Trump voters, a group named "American Preservationists," align with progressives on climate change, "believing that global warming is a serious threat and human activity is primarily to blame" (Democracy Fund, 2017).
     
  • A majority of people in nearly every state supports measures that require that renewables supply a portion of their electricity. Messages that emphasize the fact that renewables create jobs and reduce pollution can increase support for such policies (Stokes & Warshaw, 2017).
     
  • People who learn about methods of removing carbon pollution from the atmosphere tend to be less likely to support policies to cut carbon pollution. This is especially true among conservatives (Campbell-Arvai, Hart, Raimi, & Wolske, 2017).
  • Both hope and fear increase support for climate policies among both liberals and conservatives. Anger, however, drives a wedge between these groups, increasing support among liberals while turning conservatives off (Feldman & Hart, 2017).
     
  • Americans are more likely to worry about pollution because it contaminates their water or air than because it contributes to climate change (SaveOnEnergy, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for July, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

 
 
  • Four in five U.S. mothers and grandmothers are worried about climate change (Moms Clean Air Force, 2017).
     
  • Emphasizing the health benefits of curbing air pollution can build support for climate policy among people who care about public health (Walker, Kurz, & Russel, 2017).
     
  • People trust messengers who share their values and beliefs. For this reason, many conservatives don't see Pope Francis as a credible source of information about climate change (Richler, 2017).
     
  • Comparing climate change to war can create a sense of urgency and persuade Americans to shrink their carbon footprints (Flusberg, Matlock, & Thibodeau, 2017).
     
  • Explaining the consequences of failing to address climate change can make people more concerned and more likely to take action. Explaining the upside of addressing climate change can make people more hopeful, but it may also make them feel less concerned and less likely to take action (Bilandzic, Kalch, & Soentgen, 2017).
     
  • A new study finds that the competing frames of climate change—as an issue of national security, human rights or environmental health—have roughly the same effect on views of climate change policy (Singh & Swanson, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for June, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • More than eight in 10 people in the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany see climate change as a "global catastrophic risk." Nearly nine in 10 say they would change their standard of living to prevent catastrophic climate change (Global Challenges Foundation, 2017).
     
  • Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Nearly half believe the move will cost U.S. jobs (Washington Post & ABC, 2017).
     
  • By a two to one margin, voters disapprove of President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement (Quinnipiac University, 2017).
     
  • Seven in 10 Americans agree the United States should take "aggressive action" to halt climate change. The same number believes the United States should lead global efforts to stem carbon pollution (Reuters & Ipsos, 2017).
     
  • Two in three Americans believe their state should tackle climate change in the absence of federal action (Mills, Rabe, & Borick, 2017).
     
  • Roughly half of Americans—mostly Republicans—believe it is possible to cut environmental regulations and still protect air and water quality. But, more than half of Americans believe regulations are needed to promote clean energy. Americans on both sides of the aisle understand how different sources of energy affect air quality (Pew Research, 2017). 
       

      

  • A new study of UK students finds that while it is socially acceptable to challenge a racist statement, it is less socially acceptable to challenge climate change denial (Steentjes, Kurz, Barreto, & Morton, 2017).
     
  • A new experiment suggests that environmentalists want to be seen going green (e.g. carrying reusable grocery bags), while people who don't identify as environmentalists don't want to be seen going green (e.g. would rather carry a conventional grocery bag) (Brick, Sherman, & Kim, 2017).
     
  • Consistent with prior research, a news study finds that Republicans respond more favorably to the term "climate change" than to the term "global warming" (Schuldt, Enns, & Cavaliere, 2017).
     
  • Trump voters trust NASA more than Fox News for information about climate change. Seven in 10 Trump voters want to maintain or increase funding for NASA Earth Observations (Hamilton, Brunacini, & Pfirman, 2017).
  • Americans largely see climate change as a distant threat, one that may affect people in far-off places some time in the future. Many fail to see how climate change is affecting them today (American Psychological Association, 2017).
     
  • Many TV meteorologists are reluctant to talk about climate change because see it as a controversial issue and they feel pressure to remain popular among viewers. Weathercasters are also limited by time constraints (Meldrum, Szymanski, Oches, & Davis, 2017).
     
  • Climate change shares many characteristics with disease. Like climate change, diseases are progressive, can be exacerbated by human behavior, and are often easier to prevent than to cure. Comparing climate change to a disease can help Americans—particularly conservatives—understand the risks (Raimi, Stern, & Maki, 2017).
     
  • People who are told their actions make no difference to the environment are less likely to conserve energy (Salomon, Preston, & Tannenbaum, 2017).
     
  • People who hold egalitarian and communitarian worldviews are more likely to worry about climate change and less likely to believe it is difficult to conserve energy (Lacroix & Gifford, 2017).
     
  • Americans who were already concerned about climate change were more likely to act on climate after learning about Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment (Myers, Roser‐Renouf, Maibach, & Leiserowitz, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for May, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Just 11 percent of registered voters give President Trump an A grade for his handling of climate change, while 32 percent give him an F (Morning Consult & Politico, 2017).
     
  • Six in 10 Americans oppose Trump's proposed EPA cuts. The same number believe the United States should stay in the Paris Agreement. Only one in five believe environmental regulations cost the United States jobs (Politico & Harvard, 2017).
     
  • Majorities of Americans in every state support the Paris Agreement (Marlon, Fine, & Leiserowitz, 2017).
 
 
  • Six in 10 Americans support a tax on carbon pollution. Two in three believe revenue from such a tax should be used to fund clean-energy research. A much smaller proportion believe the revenue should be returned to taxpayers or used to pay down the national debt (EcoAmerica, 2017).
 
  • People who think climate change won't affect them are less likely to support adaptation measures (e.g. sea walls, emergency planning, etc.). Policymakers should emphasize that climate change is hurting Americans right now and that adaptation measures will help protect people (Singh, Zwickle, Bruskotter, & Wilson, 2017).
     
  • When people believe their actions will have no impact on climate change, they are less likely to conserve energy (Salomon, Preston, & Tannenbaum, 2017).
     
  • New research suggests Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change did not make Americans feel more concerned about the issue. However, those who are aware of the encyclical, particularly liberals, are more likely to see the pope as a credible source for information about climate change (Landrum, Lull, Akin, Hasell, & Jamieson, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for April, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Just one in four Americans thinks there is too much environmental regulation. A majority believes the United States should stay in the Paris Agreement (YouGov, 2017).
     
  • A majority of Republicans in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee believe the federal government should take steps to limit carbon pollution. Roughly three in five likely voters in those states want to maintain or improve existing environmental protections (WPA, 2017).
     
  • Fewer than one in three Americans supports President Trump's efforts to roll back Obama-era climate protections (CNBC, 2017). 
     
  • Three in four Americans are concerned about climate change. Two in three worry that climate change will affect them or a family member personally (Quinnipiac University, 2017).
     
  • Americans who believe that humans are changing the climate were very likely to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election (Rhodium Group, 2017).
  • Chinese adults are more likely than American adults to believe the climate is changing. They are also more likely to support an international climate treaty (Jamelske, Boulter, Jang, Miller, & Han, 2017).
     
  • Extreme protest tactics—such as blocking traffic, damaging property or using inflammatory rhetoric—make potential supporters less likely to identify with protestors (Feinberg, Willer, & Kovacheff, 2017).
     
  • Climate change threatens personal health and food security. When environmentalists explain this fact, Americans tend to feel more concerned about climate change but, paradoxically, they are less likely to advocate for climate policy. Making the issue personally relevant threatens to make people feel hopeless (Levine, & Kline, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for March, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • A record number of Americans feels concerned about global warming (Gallup, 2017).
 
 
  • Just nine percent of Americans think Trump should halt EPA action on climate change (EcoAmerica, 2017).
     
  • A plurality of Americans now opposes the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats are far less supportive of the pipeline than they were three years ago (Pew Research Center, 2017)
 
 
 
 
  • During periods of unusually cold or hot weather, Democrats are more likely to believe climate change is caused by humans. Republicans are less likely to believe so (Bohr, 2017).
 
 
  • A new study shows that Republicans are more likely to believe information if it is attributed to Donald Trump, while Democrats are less likely to believe information if it is attributed to Donald Trump. The results suggest that partisans look to the source of information to determine whether that information is true or false (Swire, Berinsky, Lewandowsky, & Ecker, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for February, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Seven in ten voters are concerned about climate change. Six in ten think more needs to be done to address the issue (Quinnipiac University, 2017).
     
  • Americans broadly support clean energy and want more of it. Nearly three in four say that renewable energy should be a higher priority than oil drilling. Trump supporters are less likely to support clean energy than others (Hamilton, 2017).
     
  • Two in three Americans say the U.S. should prioritize the development of wind and solar over the development of oil, coal and gas. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support clean energy (Pew Research, 2017).
     
  • Six in ten Trump voters support taxing or regulating the pollution that causes global warming. A little less than half believe the climate is changing. A similar proportion believe the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Cutler, & Rosenthal, 2017).
 
 
  • People grow more firm in their beliefs after viewing partisan media. Information about climate science makes Democrats more concerned about climate change, but it has no effect on Republicans (Carmichael, Brulle, & Huxster, 2017).
     
  • Americans regard climate science as less precise than other fields of study, even though it is plagued by many of the same uncertainties. When people regard a field of study as imprecise, they believe research from that field has little value.  (Broomell & Kane, 2017).
 
  • People are more likely to go green for selfish reasons than for altruistic reasons. They will take public transit, for example, not because they want to generate less pollution, but because they want to save money (Unsworth & McNeill, 2017).
     
  • A new study suggests that scientists can advocate for action on climate change and still be regarded as credible. In this experiment, scientists were only seen as less credible when advocating for a specific policy (Kotcher, Myers, Vraga, Neil, & Maibach, 2017).

 

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Research Roundup for January, 2017

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Climate advocates can preempt their opponents by “inoculating” the public against misinformation. Explain that scientists agree on the human causes of climate change and warn that politically motivated groups are trying to sew doubt about the scientific consensus. This can help counteract misinformation (Linden, Leiserowitz, Rosenthal, & Maibach, 2017).
     
  • Media coverage of climate change features fewer climate deniers than it did previously, but reporting still focuses on the conflict between climate deniers and climate advocates (Brüggemann & Engesser, 2017).
     
  • Eight in ten Californians believe climate change threatens the state’s economy and quality of life (Public Policy Institute of California, 2017). California is currently coping with a drought linked to climate change.
 
 
  • Half of voters don't trust Trump to take the "right" position on energy and environment. The large majority say that protecting nature is more important than increasing oil and gas extraction on public lands (Center for American Progress, 2017).
     
  • Latino voters in key swing states want aggressive action on climate change (Latino Decisions, 2016).
 
 

 

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Research Roundup for December, 2016

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Nine in 10 U.S. Latinos are concerned about climate change and believe the United States should meet its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. Eight in 10 believe the U.S. should move to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 (Sierra Club, 2016).
     
  • U.S. Latinos respond to climate messages that emphasize health, culture and community. Talk about our responsibility to our children and our communities to reduce pollution and transition to clean energy (EcoAmerica, 2016). 
     
  • Seven in 10 Americansincluding majorities of Democrats and Republicansbelieve the United States should participate in the Paris Climate Agreement (The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2016).
 
 
  • Most Trump voters want to maintain existing climate policies. Most support requiring U.S. companies to reduce their carbon emissions (Glover Park Group, 2016).
     
  • Three in four Trump voters want to speed the deployment of clean energy in the United States (Public Opinion Strategies, 2016).
 
 Republican voters associate these words with the term "clean energy."

Republican voters associate these words with the term "clean energy."

 
  • Majorities of Democrats and Republicans believe the government should curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, fund clean-energy research, offer tax rebates for electric cars and solar panels, and eliminate subsidies for coal, oil and natural gas. Roughly half of  registered voters believe policies to spur the growth of clean energy will create jobs (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2016).
 
 
  • Roughly six in 10 Americans say environmental regulations are worth the cost (Pew Research, 2016).
     
  • Just three in ten Americans believe that climate scientists understand the causes of climate change "very well" (Pew Research, 2016).
 
 
  • Scientific information about global warming has little impact on public opinion. Climate advocacy efforts, elite opinion and local weather conditions play a far larger role in shaping public concern about climate change (Carmichael & Brulle, 2016).
     
  • People who live in areas afflicted by record-breaking heat are more likely to recognize the climate is changing. The opposite is true for those who live in areas hit by record-breaking cold (Kaufman et al., 2016).
     
  • Conservatives respond to messages focused on the pastmessages that show how environmental action would return nature to its previously unblemished state (Baldwin & Lammers, 2016).



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Research Roundup for November, 2016

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Americans overestimate the prevalence of wind and solar in our energy system (which includes both power generation and transportation). Americans also trust the solar industry more than the coal and natural gas industries (Makovsky, 2016).
 
 
  • Evangelical fundamentalists are more likely than other religious adherents to dismiss the risks and human causes of climate change. Tea Party supporters are also more likely to dismiss climate change (Shao, 2016).
     
  • Liberals tend to value compassion and fairness. Conservatives tend to value purity, authority and in-group loyalty. People who value compassion, fairness and, to a lesser extent, purity are more willing to act on climate (Dickinson, McLeod, Bloomfield, & Allred, 2016).
     
  • People who feel connected to others are more likely to believe that their actionssuch as supporting an environmental groupwill serve the greater good (Cojuharenco, Cornelissen, & Karelaia, 2016).
     
  • People have negative associations with the term "fracking" but mixed views on "shale development" (Merryn et al., 2016).
     
  • Arguments against climate science are generally incoherent and contradictory. These are common attributes of conspiracy theories. Climate denial is only coherent when considered as a political tool for opposing policies aimed at curbing fossil fuel consumption (Lewandowsky, Cook, & Lloyd, 2016).



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Research Roundup for October, 2016

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:
 

  • A new report offers an in-depth look at climate change and public opinion. Around seven in ten Democrats say that climate change is important to them. Just one in four Republicans say the same. Americans broadly support clean energy (Pew Research, 2016).
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change failed to convert conservative Catholics. Conservative Catholics familiar with the encyclical didn’t change their beliefs about climate change to accommodate the Pope’s view. Rather, they changed their view of the Pope to accommodate their views on climate change (Li, Hilgard, Scheufele, Winneg, & Jamieson, 2016).

 

 

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