Research Roundup for September, 2015

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

  • Roughly 60 percent of Americans have given little thought to the public health implications of climate change. Just one in four can identify the ways that climate change threatens public health. Just one in four can identify vulnerable populations (e.g. the very poor) (Maibach et al., 2015).
  • Doubting climate change makes people want to vote conservative but, even more so, voting conservative makes people want to doubt climate change (McCrea, Leviston, & Walker, 2015).
  • News media breed public cynicism when reporters emphasize political failures around climate change. Telling stories about political activists and about governments getting climate policy right can restore our faith in the political system and nurture feelings of efficacy. (Cross, Gunster, Piotrowski, & Daub, 2015). This study draws on recent work (highlighted in last month's Research Roundup) showing that news coverage of climate change can undermine self-efficacy.
  • Local TV meteorologists are in an excellent position to educate the public about the local implications of climate change. They are widely trusted as a source for climate science (Placky et al., 2015).
  • In China, people who feel something can be done about climate change are more likely to believe global warming poses a threat (Xue, Hine, Marks, Phillips, & Zhao, 2015).

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