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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