Research Roundup for February, 2016

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

  • An analysis of 25 polls and 171 studies finds that political preference is a better predictor of one's concern about climate change than variables like age, gender, education or experience with extreme weather events. (Conservatives are more likely to dismiss the facts of climate change.) Moreover, concern about climate change does not necessarily translate to support for strong climate policy (e.g. a carbon tax) (Hornsey, Harris, Bain, & Fielding, 2016).

  • Only 30 percent of middle school science teachers and 45 percent of high school science teachers understand that climate scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. Unsurprisingly, 30 percent of teachers wrongly state that warming β€œis likely due to natural causes" (Plutzer et al., 2016).

  • The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has created a new tool mapping public opinion on climate change in Canada (Mildenberger et al., 2016).

  • A new guide from Climate Outreach outlines four narratives around climate change that appeal to communities of faith (Marshall et al., 2016).

    • Earth care is a precious gift.

    • Climate change is a moral challenge.

    • Climate change is disrupting the natural balance.

    • We live our faith through our actions.

    • Take a personal pledge.

  • As it is with climate change, there are many barriers to understanding threats to our oceans. Ocean acidification, for example, may feel distant, complex and unfamiliar. And, like climate change, the issue may be highly politicized (Schuldt, McComas, & Byrne, 2016).


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