Research Roundup for January, 2016

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

  • From 1998 to 2013, Conservative think tanks produced more and more literature doubting climate science. Based on this sample, there is little evidence that the era science denial is over (Boussalis & Coan, 2016). 
  • Seven in 10 Americans believe "the world’s climate is undergoing a change leading to more extreme weather patterns and sea level rise." Four in ten believe this is a serious problem (MacDonald, 2016).
  • Newspaper coverage of climate change has varied widely since 2000 (Luedecke, McAllister, Nacu-Schmidt, Andrews, Boykoff, Daly, & Gifford, 2016). (See the tables below.)
  • Roughly seven in 10 conservative Republicans believe the U.S. should accelerate the development of clean energy to curb pollution, improve health and get off foreign oil. A majority supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax (ClearPath, 2015).
  • Eight in 10 millennials believe we should move to clean energy by 2030. Fewer than half believe we should continue mining fossil fuels (Ipsos, 2016).
  • Many Americans who care less about climate change hold values consistent with the religious case for climate actiontending to the poor, caring for God's creation and protecting future generations (Roser-Renouf, Maibach, Leiserowitz, Feinberg, & Rosenthal, 2016). 
  • A study of Gulf Coast residents finds that political orientation, not changing weather conditions, drives belief in climate change. When it comes to climate, seeing is not believing (Shao & Goidel, 2016).
  • People are more likely to accept the fact that scientists agree about climate change if they believe the person telling them is trustworthy and knowledgable (Hahn, Harris, & Corner, 2015).
  • People are more likely to trust information about climate change when scientists offer a range of uncertainty around their estimates. (e.g. "sea level rise of three to nine inches" rather than "sea level rise of six inches") (Joslyn & LeClerc, 2015).
  • Among adolescents, concern about climate change and hope for the future can lead to action. Despair is more likely to lead to inaction (Stevenson & Peterson, 2016). 


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