Research Roundup for December, 2018

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

  • Nearly four in five Americans believe the climate is changing, leading to more extreme weather and rising seas. This includes almost two-thirds of Republicans, up from around half of Republicans three years ago. A majority of Americans believe that climate change is a very serious problem, though less than a third think that humans are the primary cause (Monmouth University, 2018).

  • Americans want incoming House Democrats to diverge from President Trump on several key issues, chiefly health care, immigration and climate change. Two in three Americans say that climate change is a problem that demands action. A majority believes that failing to address climate change will prove most costly than dealing with the problem (NBC News & Wall Street Journal, 2018).

  • Around nine in 10 Latinos in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas say that it’s important that the new Congress work to address climate change. Around eight in 10 say they have already felt the effects of climate change in their state (Latino Decisions, 2018).

  • After learning about a proposed Green New Deal, which would transition the United States to 100 percent clean electricity in 10 years, four in five registered voters said they support the plan, including a majority of conservative Republicans. However, However, only around one in five voters have heard about the proposal (Gustafson et al., 2018).

  • A grim UN report on climate change released in October led to a spike in news coverage of the issue (Boykoff, Katzung & Nacu-Schmidt, 2018).

  • An analysis of dozens of surveys shows that people with hierarchical or authoritarian attitudes are likely to be unconcerned with environmental issues (Stanley & Wilson, 2018).

  • Conservatives who believe climate change will affect them personally report feeling more fearful and angry than liberals who believe climate change will affect them personally. Conservatives who are afraid of climate change also want to learn more about the issue than liberals who are afraid. This may be because conservatives are more likely than liberals to crave certainty (Yang, Chu, & Kahlor, 2018).

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