Research Roundup for October, 2018

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

  • Interviews with residents of Washington State show that both Democrats and Republicans support rooftop solar panels. Member of both groups believe rooftop solar can help homeowners save money and be more self-sufficient, though only Democrats support rooftop solar because it helps reduce pollution (Horne & Kennedy, 2018).

  • A majority of eligible voters support a community jobs guarantee, while few oppose the idea. Voters are more likely to support a green jobs guarantee, meaning the government would provide workers with jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency. Voters are slightly more likely to support a candidate who focuses on green jobs than one who focuses on clean energy (Data for Progress & YouGov Blue, 2018).

  • In cold places, people are more likely to doubt that the planet is warming. People are also more likely to doubt the planet is warming during colder times of the year. While unusually cold weather raises doubts about climate change, unusually hot weather does virtually nothing to fuel concerns (Pelham, 2018).

  • In the wake of Hurricane Florence, eight in 10 North Carolina voters said that climate change will hurt coastal communities in the coming decades, up from four in 10 North Carolina voters in 2017. These numbers are largely attributable to a shift in opinion among Republicans (Elon University, 2018).

  • Floods, hurricanes and tornadoes do not increase worry about climate change over the long term. Droughts have been shown to increase worry about climate change over the long term, though mostly among liberals (Lyons, Hasell, & Stroud, 2018).

  • People with strong ideological leanings tend to seek out news that confirms their views on climate change, and they tend to dismiss news that challenges their views on climate change (Newman, Nisbet, & Nisbet, 2018).

  • New analysis of existing survey data shows that Americans have grown more worried about climate change in recent years but also less hopeful. The analysis also shows that Americans who are more hopeful are also more likely to take action on climate change (Ballew & Marlon, 2018)

  • For a recent study, researchers showed participants a series of essays about the health risks of climate change. After reading the essays, participants were more likely to feel concerned about climate change. This was true of both liberals and conservatives. Participants took greatest interest in essays about disease-carrying insects and contaminated food and water (Kotcher, Maibach, Montoro, & Hassol, 2018).


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